The Wave: Bristol raised over £200,000 with Crowdfunder in a phenomenally successful crowdfunding campaign. If we can put the campaign’s triumphs down to one thing it would be the project’s extensive network – a brilliantly coordinated team of surfers, sustainability experts, charities and marketing professionals.
The campaign and ethos of The Wave are rooted in a passion for giving something back through surfing. The founders are confident that an inland surfing lake can give individuals from all walks of life a chance to flourish, as well as open up new opportunities for the landscape, environment and energy production.
Back in 2010, Nick Hounsfield started thinking big. He had a passion, and started to talk about it with friends, then friends of friends. His next step was to talk to smart people that knew stuff, and his idea grew.
When a business idea evolves over time, and is talked through with influential folk at every step of the journey, firm networks are established. These networks are crucial to a strong following in the lead up to, during, and after the launch of a crowdfunding campaign.
Amongst some of the people involved in the surfing endeavour are: Chris Hines MBE, founder of Surfers Against Sewage and sustainability guru: the Making Waves Foundation, a charitable trust; Finisterre, a cold water surf company; and a handpicked selection of professional surfers including Alan Stokes, Céline Gehret and Sam Bleakley.
All of these people are well known in the surfing, sustainability and charitable fields and great marketers in their own right. Their networks add to Nick’s personal contacts in surfing, business and the South West.
The Wave set a crowdfunding goal of £150,000 to enable the building of the UK’s first man-made surfing lake to begin, as well as ensure sustainability continued to be tightly woven throughout every step of the project. Within a month 973 backers had given funds of over £200,000, with 2% given to the Making Waves Foundation so they can continue to fund projects in the local community. The Wave team are still grinning from ear to ear.
These far-reaching networks enabled Nick and his team to offer over twenty different rewards for backers, ranging from a shout-out on Facebook, to a limited edition Finisterre t-shirt, annual membership of the surfing centre and VIP corporate away day on-site. They offered something to appeal to each one of their supporters, as well as their friends and family, in the run up to Christmas 2015.
Nick commented: “There were two key aspects for us when we were crowdfunding. Our campaign validated what we were doing – making sure The Wave: Bristol was something that people wanted. It meant we’d built a good crowd of pledgers that not only wanted to support and follow our progress but also put hard-earned money into the project. Secondly, it meant we could go back to our investors with a validation of the plan and the fact that we have an audience of people that are going to come and use the facility once we are up and open.
The beauty of crowdfunding is that it’s scalable, for many, crowdfunding could be essential for getting project off the ground. The whole process has been really helpful and I think crowdfunding is the future for getting peers to lend money in a financial environment that has been really hard, particularly in the last few years, to raise funds.
Work has now begun creating the high-performance surfing centre, which will be set in botanical gardens, just outside of Bristol. The lake will sit alongside a café, natural swimming pool, campsite and education centre, amongst a host of other facilities.
Do you have an idea, a crowd and the drive to Crowdfund? Start your project today.