The Spark Project to offer new crowdfunding methods in March 2017
MANILA, Philippines – Local crowdfunding platform The Spark Project is set to offer new ways of crowdfunding "creative, innovative, and passion-driven projects" to kick-off its 5th year, the organization announced on Wednesday, February 22.
Additional crowdfunding methods and changes in the user interface will be available for project creators and "backers" or donors by March 2017. These crowdfunding modes for non-profit groups or causes, and scale-ups include donations-based, and investment-type methods.
The Spark Project CEO and Founder Patch Dulay said introducing the investment-type and equity-based methods to Filipinos excites him the most because his team wants to be at the forefront of these crowdfunding methods.
“Investment type and equity-based crowdfunding is more complex. With investment-type of funding, these are lenders. They get the money back over time. With equity-based funding, it’s like you’re investing in a company,” he detailed.
In its 4 years of operations, the company has sparked a total of 45 projects and raised P4.7 million ($93,600). Since Dulay’s team started crowdfunding in 2013, all of the projects showed a 63% exceed rate, which means that project creators have either reached or exceeded their target start-up fund. (WATCH: A crowdfunding platform for PH startups)
A new look
Bolder and stronger colors will greet project creators and backers once they visit the Spark Project’s website in March.
“Before it was mostly white but now we want to put some color to it. Stronger colors like purple,” Dulay explained.
Dulay said the idea of a new look is for a fresh start since not much has been done to the website since it was launched 4 years ago. Some of the most notable changes will include bigger header photos, Instagram-like, project tiles, and the use of profile pictures.
“We just really wanted the website to be user-friendly,” said Dulay, noting that their experience the past 4 years gave them insights on what to change or improve.
Making it happen
One enterprise that has successfully grown out of the Spark Project is the Steep Coffee Bags.
Wanting more convenience for his everyday coffee, social entrepreneur Justin Bereber came up with a innovative way to brew coffee. He described his products as "your ground coffee in a tea bag."
Bereber said the idea was to make brewing coffee faster and possible even without a brewer.
“We only have instant coffee at home so when a friend gave me ground coffee,I used mug, cheese cloth, and rubber band to filter it,” Bereber shared in Filipino.
With this method, brewing one cup took 10 minutes. "I got late going to work because of that method," he added. His coffee in a tea bag takes only two to 3 minutes to brew in hot boiling water.
Since launching his products more than a year ago, they have become available in 55 stores nationwide, including the Kultura section of the SM Store.
Bereber said he was inspired to launch his own product as he previously worked with Gouache waxed canvass bags, one of Spark Project’s successfully crowdfunded start-up enterprise.
Through the Spark Project, Bereber was able to raise more than P200,000 ($3,900). With this money, he was able to put up his own production facility. It also gave jobs to unemployed mothers in a community in Laguna. (WATCH: Project MOVE: Entrepreneurship guide for millennials)
“Spark helped me raise funds for my project that later helped my community as well,” Bereber shared.
The Steep Coffee Bags are set for export to Australia this year.
‘Best year yet’
“We want 2017 to be our best year yet. We want to make it now,” Dulay said, introducing this year’s mantra, #SparkItNow.
One event he is particularly excited about is the first-ever Spark Festival, a reward project of the team for all the backers and a celebration of "the best of the Spark Project to date."
The team has cooperated with its alumni projects for the rewards, which include a "mystery box" that will contain special products from various Spark brands. Another reward is a collaboration with Spark brand, Gouache, which is a bag that can be worn 3 ways – as a backpack, a handbag, or a sling bag – for the creative entrepreneur.
The festivity will happen in June and will feature booth exhibits and inspiring talks from creative entrepreneurs out of the Spark Project.
The Spark Festival started to crowdfund in January 2017 with a goal of P150,000 ($2,900). With 6 days left until backing ends, the team has exceeded its target by almost P40,000 ($800).
The Spark Project is also looking into helping out entrepreneurs through education. Themed learning events to encourage realizing ideas into action will be continued through the Spark Series.
Dulay concluded: “We want to really create a bigger community for all these creative entrepreneurs, all these change-makers who have an idea and want to make something happen. We want to be with them every step of the way." – Rappler.com
Angela Casco is a Rappler intern. She is studying at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.