Ryan Rutan has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years and readily gave up searching for the cure long ago. Most recently as a founding partner in Fundable, and creator of his consulting practice, Ryan has had the pleasure of working with and managing teams that have consulted over 1000 startup companies as they prepare to seek funding for seed, or growth capital initiatives.
His entrepreneurial experience spans technology, consumer facing web, market research and the SMB sectors – with exits in each. It also spans three continents and many more countries. Ryan has consulted for Google, WPP, L’Oreal, Samsung, Staples, IMS Health, Nationwide Insurance, The Ohio State University, and beyond.
Fundable is the creation of a group of serial startup founders who have collectively raised funding from dozens of angel investors and venture capitalists. They understand the challenges you face as you create a business, and the Fundable team are happy to offer their personal expertise to all clients looking to crowdfund.
BusinessInterviews.com: What separates Fundable from other crowdfunding platforms?
Ryan: We have several standout features and services that put a lot of room between us and our competition. To begin, we are business focused, and don’t mix in cause and project type funding. Furthermore, because we cater to startup businesses, we offer the ability to raise equity in addition to traditional “rewards” based raises. As a final differentiator, we have a large team of individuals that can provide hands on help in everything from understanding the funding landscape to writing and designing your profile for you along with providing marketing and outreach resources.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share some tips or insights for startups contemplating using crowdfunding for their first time?
Ryan: Plan, plan, plan. Prepare, prepare, prepare. The actual crowdfund is typically 60-90 days, but that’s the final stage. Successful crowdfunding requires planning what kind of funding you need, how much you need, what you’ll do with it, what you need to do to deliver on your promises post funding, how you’ll market and promote the raise, and the list goes on.
Preparation is critical, primarily around gathering an audience. One of the biggest mistakes we see is that people wait to start gathering interested users, customer, or backers until they launch. Conversely, one of the consistent factors across successful raises is that they’ve pre-developed their audience and are starting off with support at the ready.
BusinessInterviews.com: How do you think the crowdfunding landscape will evolve over the next 5 years?
Ryan: We are seeing new platforms launching daily, most of which fade into obscurity. The commercial landscape is very much in its infancy, and will continue to see new entrants and attrition as the market matures which could easily take the next 5-10 years. On the regulator side, we are still waiting for major pieces of the legislation to be enacted; some of which can have broad impact (opening equity investing to non-accredited investors for example). I think the most exiting changes will be on the consumer side as people become more and more excited by the prospect of supporting or investing in companies they love.
BusinessInterviews.com: Can you share how LaunchRock.com and BizPlan.com are part of ecosystem you’re developing to help businesses succeed in every possible way?
Ryan: We’ve all faced the challenges of starting a business, from where to turn for reliable information, to the steps required to get off the whiteboard and into the market, and we want to put the repeatable steps of starting a company on rails. We believe there are 5 major areas where time and resources are spent in starting a company: Learning, Planning, Launching, Funding, Growing.
We’re currently focused on planning, launching and funding, and those are addressed in that order by Bizplan.com, LaunchRock.com and Fundable.com. We are at the very beginning of our journey to join them in a way that brings a seamless and powerful experience for founders – as well as building product to address the learn and grow segments. 2015 is going to be a very good year for founders if we have anything to say about it.
BusinessInterviews.com: What’s the best piece of business advice that you’ve ever been given?
Ryan: That communication is the burden of the sender – and not allowing perspective to get in the way of vision is critical.
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