Check out the interview below with Jim Rudnick (@JVRudnick), founder of the new FundHamOnt (@FundHamOnt) local crowdfunding platform! He’ll be giving a talk + Q&A about the new service at StartupDrinks this Wednesday March 12th at The Pheasant Plucker too!
What is FundHamOnt?
It’s my attempt at trying to help the hundreds of new start-ups that I hear from on a daily basis who have an idea, the passion to try to make it come true‚Ä¶.but not the access to seed funding to get any traction. I hear them pitch, I chat with them at DemoCamps, StartUpDrinks, IF events, BizSmartz events in fact almost everywhere I go in the city somebody says “hey, got an idea but where do I find funding?” And now, we have an answer‚Ä¶.
Why did you decide to create FundHamOnt?
To help all the entrepreneurs here in our own HamOnt community find a way to ask for the support of their community. To try to validate that “idea” via just such a crowdfunding Campaign which I think is a great way to see if that idea has both the legs and the rationale of our whole community. I believe that no one would ever fund a bad idea‚Ä¶so this helps in many ways!
What is the current state of startup / early seed funding in Hamilton?
As far as I know ‚Äď other than the traditional friends, family and fools ‚Äď there is no real funding group for startups at all. Yes, there is our own AngelOne group but they are looking well downstream from a funding viewpoint‚Ä¶.in fact there’s few opportunities at all for that seed funding‚Ä¶the first say $10k to get you started‚Ä¶
How important is it that we fix the local early funding gap?
Absolutely important ‚Äď in fact most likely as I see it, the reason that we even exist is to get our community support offered to our own community entrepreneurs! Without us, where would one go?
What is the first project being funded on FundHamOnt?
We are so proud that our first Campaign is from our own Hamilton literary group, the gritLIT Festival group and we’re so happy to have them too! If you’re like me, you too wouldn’t even know but #HamOnt has some damn fine writers and authors‚Ä¶and this is the group that supports same too! And while it’s a bit outside your question, we’ve turned down now 11 other Campaigns that did not have a “local” POV‚Ä¶.we love our city and this is for our city!
Are you worried about ‚Äėcompeting‚Äô with Indiegogo, Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms?
Not in the least. These large non-geo-synched sites have raised hundreds of millions for their own demographic and that’s not at all what we’re about. Instead, we are trying to build our community by offering up our own local entrepreneurs and causes and groups to look for support here‚Ä¶.not in San Francisco! We want to raise support here for startups and entrepreneurs who are here‚Ä¶the real strength of being “local!”
What type of projects do you think are going to be popular on FundHamOnt?
I think it will be that there will be a mix of both ’causes’ and ‘startups’ and yes, even ‘politics’ too that will all rise‚Ä¶.As long as the Campaign has a local #HamOnt rationale, we’d welcome them‚Ä¶.
Where would you like to see FundHamOnt 5-10 years from now?
Still building our city! With even second generation Campaigns too‚Ä¶.that spin off a successful startup we helped fund earlier too!
What else do we need to do locally to improve early stage funding for local businesses? For instance, would a Hamilton-based angel investment group make sense as a next step?
Oh yes it would ‚Äď but a real early-stage Angel group I’d think… and I’d love to help someone get that community building idea some traction too!
How can the Hamilton community help you make FundHamOnt a bigger success?
Just by dropping by to see what’s new occasionally; by reading the Campaign notices about new ideas looking for support; by listening within your own circle of friends and if you hear of someone who need seed funding, then send them to www.fundhamont.com!