Game Changer Online backing, called crowdfunding, is changing the game for startups By Vicki Ikeogu
tarting a business is no easy feat, especially in the shadows of the Great Recession. From the development of an idea to the final execution, entrepreneurs need a lot of persistence – and oftentimes a substantial investment – to make their dreams a reality. But in recent years, securing the necessary capital to get ideas off the ground has become increasingly difficult. Just ask Quarks American Bento owners Adam and Lisa Schulte. “Initially when we were planning (financing for our
restaurant) we went to no fewer than 15 banks to secure financing,” Lisa Schulte said. “And it got to be a fun little game after a while because we knew that they were all going to say no. Nobody wants to finance a restaurant. It’s too high risk, it’s too new of a concept, and we had never run a restaurant before. It was like Mission Impossible to get financing for this restaurant.” But the couple was determined to open their healthy fast food restaurant and debut their concept in St. Cloud. “So, we had
Left to right: Aime and Jon Theis of Harbor Drive Hookup used Kickstarter to raise money for their first album; Adam and Lisa Schulte, owners of Quarks American Bento, explored crowdfunding as a way to help finance their restaurant. During their two Indiegogo campaigns the couple raised a combined total of $7,000.
some personal money that we used. Unsecured credit (credit cards) was another option that we used to fill in the gaps. Then it just seemed like the only other option out there was the crowdfunding campaigns.” For musicians Amie and Jon Theis, crowdfunding seemed like the right move to finance the next logical step for their band Harbor Drive Hookup: an album.
“The first time I ever heard of Kickstarter was when somebody was talking about doing an album and I thought, ‘Wow, this dude’s trying to get other people to pay for his album. That’s terrible.’ This was like five years ago,” Jon Theis said. “And then I listened to a podcast called the DIY Musician podcast and they had a couple of people on there who talked about Kickstarter and it was like, this isn’t charity. Continued on page 44.
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St. Cloud Area Chamber Business Central Magazine