My ideas have been validated by the fact that two separate accelerators have expressed desire to work with me on my start ups in the music tech and transportation worlds of business.
I declined the terms ultimately and wanted to go my own route.
I wish there were some way to easily convey the legitimacy and value in my projects and my work in general to investors and others who would contribute to my startup fund.
Who has had success in directing traffic like a sales page ultimately, but instead of converting sales, they'd be donating.
Accelerators ARE investors, a class of incubator that puts money into businesses. Regular incubators are not investors. What one person considers worth the risk does not translate to what someone else considers a risk. You can't leverage the interest of one particularly narrow investor like an accelerator against other investors with different objectives. I would question why you were approaching accelerators whose programs you weren't interested in. They don't go out looking, you have to apply, so did you not do research to understand them beforehand?
That same lack of research in understanding the motivations of investors is probably why you're not finding other success in driving your campaign for funding.
There are a lot of rules around crowdsourced funding that you need to be very aware of before you consider the scenario you are proposing. And don't think it's any less difficult than dealing with the terms of a more traditional funding source. In fact, it can be more difficult, even when it's small dollar amounts, because the number of people expressing their demands is many multiples noisier and demanding of your time and attention than just having one or two investor groups.
There's nothing stopping you from pre-selling your product. But taking "donations" sounds sketchy. And that is why there are administrative crowdfunding platforms that give some security to such schemes for the unqualified "investors."
What is stopping you from proceeding without outside funds? How could you change your plans to be self-supporting? Most businesses never see any funding from people other than close friends or family. Being able to plan for that is a stronger foundation for the structure of your business.
Paul makes some great points and they aren't always taken with such an open mind. Great attitude to have!
Let me ask; why stop there? I get that these two programs didn't meet your expectations, so why not keep going until you find one that does? It's obvious incubators and accelerator opportunities aren't the only options, but they can still be a unique asset in the way today's companies are built. It sounds to me like you already know most of this, so maybe just don't give up on them just yet. Asking for monetary commitments is rather uncommon, but not all too unheard of. I think that may have been a wise choice on your part to pass. As long as the terms give you some out to regain control once the expectations of success have been met, you should be golden despite the initial agreement.
Crowdfunding and public donations are different arenas that trade one set of challenges for others. So not to be discouraging, let's look at exploring that avenue. :)
So you have a great idea that has legs and you want to get the public to help get you moving. The big thing here is that you will have to hustle and sell yourself a bit more. Donation pages and Kickstarters can get some movement, but you've really got to hit something viral for them to make any sort of impact. You will be dealing with a different decision-making process regarding how your product or service will be perceived as a value add to non-investors, additionally, this also limits you to individuals or organizations that are willing to give up something now for just the possibility of something down the road. This also puts yourself out there in an ever-increasingly "do or die" social space where the multitude of expectations will vary greatly and people are looking for you to fail more than succeed.
Since you're not going the route of an accelerator, you'll be doing pretty much the same thing, but all on your own. This includes creating your partnerships from scratch, breaking into networks on your own and all the marketing and logistics that come with it. It's all doable! So just be patient with it.
If we knew a little more about the specifics of your work, we might be able to give you specifics on who to team up with to help get that hustle going. If you can find peers or other entities to partner with and create mutually beneficial partnerships, you may be able to leverage your work in a way that they benefit from the fresh perspective or features of your work while their existing efforts and public reach save you time and money. Very similar to how social media works when hiring influencers to put you in front of their audience to see whos interested and what sticks.
There are many things here you can do, but there's no point in speculating all the different possibilities when some additional details might make a big difference. I'd be happy to add more if you can elaborate any more on your work and some of the overt benefits and challenges you are working with. I do have a background in the music industry and may be able to point you a little more specifically in the right direction. There are some smart and experienced people here that can contribute as well, so any additional info is most welcome.
Bottom line is that you'll need to be proactive or find someone that can be proactive for you. Get your support pages for donations and such in place, but make sure you start with the basics of how to introduce this work of yours in as efficient a way as possible so you can start getting the momentum you're looking for.
Thank you for responding to my post, I appreciate the time you took to do so.
I am the first to admit that I am always learning and seeking to learn constantly.
That doesn't mean that I didn't do the research before hand, as two of the accelerators I did apply to, and one of which was arguably one of the top 10 international startups in the world, so I'm told by non- employees of said group.
Ultimately, they started talking about how I had to come out of pocket to buy in to the accelerator, and that's where I was turned off by it. Just the same as the this particular accelerator....
Nothing against them, as I'm sure there are people willing to do that, and there are people who have had success from them probably.
What I don't get is what exactly they are trying to accelerate if the first thing they ask for sets me back further.
Is that a common aspect of accelerators that you're aware of?
Because if it was, that detail seems to go without mention anywhere else.
My ideas were apparently awesome, because BOTH accelerator programs accepted me within 2-3 hours after applying...
Maybe they had some spare time and I timed it perfectly, I don't know..
But that was kind of cool.
Anyway, the point being that I'm not going to give up there, and I appreciate your advise about the donation vocabulary.
A great point, and undeniable given second thought.
Cheers to you sir