Spinn Coffee's Roderick de Rode on Doing Crowdfunding Right
Preorder preparation: a pressing concern
Every startup founder begins with an idea. Getting that idea on paper is the easy part; what happens next is anything but, as Spinn Coffee co-founder and CEO Roderick de Rode knows well. Before entering Highway1’s fifth cohort in February 2015, he says, “our main objective was to make it to the next level of getting our idea to reality. We came to Highway1 with an idea, a 3D-printed model, and a pitch deck. During the program, we built the proof of concept and moved it into a real prototype.” That prototype served them in good stead, brewing countless cups of coffee for mentors and fellow startups and taking them to a successful Demo Day, where an investor put pen to paper.
Since Demo Day, Spinn’s focus has been on fundraising, preparing for their crowdfunding campaign, gearing up for DFM, and picking their manufacturers and suppliers. It sounds like a lot to juggle, but de Rode maintains that running these processes in parallel is essential. “We weren’t going out with the preorder until our manufacturing was lined up. Timing is a very important element; you don’t want to come out with a campaign too early, when you don’t know what manufacturing is going to bring. There are some unfortunate examples we can all point to where a company doesn’t pay enough attention to their manufacturing plan, ends up with a BOM higher than their unit price, and goes bankrupt without shipping anything despite raising millions of dollars.” Highway1 provided many invaluable resources, not least among them the cohort itself, which de Rode describes as “a knowledge base derived from real-world experience,” with crowdfunding ranking high in their collective expertise. “There have already been many crowdfunding campaigns by Highway1 alumni, so you know those recipes and what works and doesn’t work.”
According to de Rode, “The #1 reason why hardware companies fall down is a lack of funding from investors who believe in your idea the way you do. You have to prove product-market fit, and in the hardware world that’s extremely difficult because you have to actually make the product first; the only way to get there is through crowdfunding. That’s the reason crowdfunding platforms have exploded in the last couple of years: there are a lot of people with ideas they want to bring to market, and the only way to prove that idea to a potential investor is to get it out there and see what the market says.”
When asked for advice, de Rode tells his fellow entrepreneurs to “keep building, keep making your dreams into reality. It’s a journey, but it’s all possible if you follow the right recipe.” He would know, having done it himself: Spinn’s convenient, connected, waste-free coffee machine is up for preorder at a special holiday discount: check it out now.