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Give us a brief overview of Bamboo Bikes Barcelona. What is it?
Bamboo Bikes Barcelona is adding a twist to the traditional concept of the city bike. Our bikes are handmade in Barcelona with the best sustainable materials, such as bamboo and natural hemp fibres. Among other desirable qualities, bamboo is well-known for providing maximum resistance and flexibility when used in manufacturing. The result of our specialised materials and attention to detail during production is a unique and completely personalised bike, which combines an exceptional design with supreme driving comfort.
What inspired you to start the company?
When Marc and I were living in Hong Kong, we took a trip to the interior countryside of China. Along the way, we saw a bamboo bike for the first time. We immediately fell in love with the simplicity and design of it. It was there and then that we decided we wanted one and began researching how to make it ourselves. When we returned to Barcelona after travelling for nearly three years, we started to create prototypes. A year and a half later, we created the company Bamboo Bikes Barcelona.
Why did you decide to do a crowdfunding campaign?
We received great feedback from the press and public from the moment we began selling our bikes. People expressed how much they liked them—our fresh take on cycling attracting a popular niche here in Barcelona—but a lack of resources and funding limited us in growing our business as planned. When we started to look for financing alternatives—we were never interested in bank loans or venture capital—we discovered crowdfunding, and ultimately decided to take our campaign live, believing it to be an ideal monetary solution for a project like ours.
Why did you choose Verkami as your crowdfunding platform?
After considering the many crowdfunding platforms that exist, we finally chose Verkami because it is the strongest crowdfunding platform based in Spain and is currently known for having the most experience and success in Catalunya. Verkami was established in Mataró by Joan Sala and his two sons, Adrià and Jonàs: a biologist, an art historian and a physicist, driven by a passion for creativity, art and research. We wanted to use a platform at the national level, to publicise Bamboo Bikes in our area mainly, but we also were won over by their eagerness to help people see their projects come to life. We truly believed we could be a success using Verkami as our platform.
How did the campaign go?
The campaign was a success. We reached our objective in just 12 minutes! Our initial goal was 1,000 euros but, in the end, we raised 5,819 euros within the 40 days that our campaign was live on Verkami.
What were the benefits and struggles of doing crowdfunding?
The main benefit of crowdfunding is that you gain an incredible amount of visibility in the market, promoting your brand and your products while simultaneously increasing your capital. In addition, Verkami made it easy to directly contact other live projects on the platform if we had any doubts or questions about our own campaign or a similar product in the process of being financed. Overall, crowdfunding is a great way to reach out to potential customers, but also have supporters come to you. The public tends to support projects like ours, and the campaign's rapid success has confirmed that we are doing something worthwhile; providing a useful product that people get excited about.
In terms of negative points, they are fewer, and far less important, than the positive. You have to keep in mind that while your campaign is live, people only vouch to contribute a certain amount of money to your project. It is when the campaign closes that they have to give their credit card information, and some people do not follow through with the payment. Also, you receive the money generated from the campaign two weeks after it closes, not right away. This delays the delivery of rewards to your investors because you don’t have the necessary resources to produce and send them.
Would you suggest crowdfunding to other startups in Barcelona?
Yes, for sure! Crowdfunding is a great way to promote your startup or project and create a buzz. Just make sure you pick a platform that fits your needs and style and keep an open mind, then crowdfunding can be a very good experience.