Review of Marcus Schappi Crowd-funding event

Silicon Beach & Gold Coast TechSpace were proud to host an event with Marcus Schappi on 27th June at the One 50 Public house in Bundall. The event was sponsored by the City of Gold Coast as part of their visiting entrepreneurs programme and I am very proud of the fact we were able to get Marcus to visit our backyard at such a busy time for him.

The event was really well attended – over 70 people which is probably one of our best Silicon Beach events yet. We were especially happy to have some of our good friend from HSBNE in Brisbane down for the evening and everyone seemed to enjoy playing with the cool LED drum that was brought along. Food and service at One 50 is just excellent and I’d like to personal thank Hannah  the event manager for all her efforts – I’d highly recommend it if you are looking for a venue.

After plenty of mingling and networking we got to Marcus’ talk.

Marcus is pretty famous in the Australian hobby electronics & hackerspace community as he started Little Bird Electronics and did one of the first decent kickstarter projects that I knew of by an Australia – Ninja Blocks. Since Ninja Blocks, he has moved on to do MicroView, a cool little Arduino/screen combination with some additional education components. Outside of this community he is probably not so well known, but his understanding of startups and in particular crowd-funding meant this was a great opportunity for the Gold Coast crowd!

Much of Marcus’ talk was a reflection of his experiences with Little Bird and Ninja Blocks and how he approached things differently with MicroView. Some interesting viewpoints on Venture Capital and marcus-shappi-head-geek-ammoFunding gave the audience a lot to thing about…. such as “Do you actually need to fundraise?” and “what questions will a VC ask you?”. His advice was to do a crowd-funded start-up in Australia but try to make yourself look American and he shared some clever tricks here such as virtual phone numbers, mail redirection and LLC/Payment gateway setup. He recommended Earth Class Mail and SkypeIn although there are many other options.

On crowd-funding – his sage advice was to not use crowd-funding to build your project, but build a product first (it can still be small volume/prototype) and use crowd-funding to SELL!

For those interested in his presentation you can find a copy here.

We all stayed around for quite a while at the end and I felt the night went really well with one of the most mixed group of attendees I’ve seen so far. Lots of new connections were made.

I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the City of Gold Coast for supporting this event, in particular to Tanya Lipus who organised the visiting entrepreneurs programme (and was sadly sick on the night) and Cn Glen Tozer who was in attendance and is a good friend of the local Gold Coast start-up scene.

A final thank you to Marcus for taking the time to make the trip up at what is an extremely busy and stressful time for him. Thank you Marcus!!!