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Startupfest 2013 - From Founding to Future: Building What Matters - Danae Ringelmann
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Startupfest 2013 - From Founding to Future: Building What Matters - Danae Ringelmann

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Danae Ringelmann, Co-Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Indiegogo, the largest global crowdfunding platform, will touch upon how the passion and dedication to solving a problem lead to the birth ...

Danae Ringelmann, Co-Founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Indiegogo, the largest global crowdfunding platform, will touch upon how the passion and dedication to solving a problem lead to the birth of Indiegogo and crowdfunding as we know it today. With an emphasis on the importance of building a company for scalability in a changing landscape and how she envisions the future of crowdfunding.

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  • So you’re probably sitting here not because you want to start a company… but because you actually want to do something meaningful.  You might think you’re here because you think you want to learn how to start a business? I’d argue, that’s not the reason at all. I’d argue – not knowing each and everyone of you – that most of you are here because you want to do something meaningful on this planet, and solving a real problem by starting a company will be your way to do it. If that sounds right, congratulations. In my humble opinion, I think you’re on the right path. If that doesn’t sound right? If you’re more like: “I see a huge opportunity and I want to take advantage of it before anyone else” or I want to start a business because that’s cool,” or I want to start a business because I want to be rich!” well I have bad news. You’re probably going to fail. Someone will beat and out-innovate you, the business won’t be cool, and you’ll end up poor.
  • Sorry to break the bad news. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in starting Indiegogo and getting the opportunity to meet and know many other entrepreneurs is that “why you do what you do” is by far more important that “what you do” in determining how successful you are at doing it.  Why you’re solving a problem is more important than what problem you’re trying to solve.It’s the WHY that matters, not the WHAT.
  • Why does the Why Matter… we’ll get into that more in a second, but the most obvious is that ENTREPRENEURSHIP is HARD. If you weren’t irrantionally obsessed with WHY you’re doing it, you’d give up.
  • The best analogy I have for entrepreneurship is traveling in a developing world. Anyone done this?Were you excited about the trip?Was it easy?Did everything go as planned and on time?Did youwish you were back home or somewhere else at least a few times?Happy you stuck it out? Hell yah.When I graduated college – I took a trip to Indonesia, and I had no idea it was going to be incredible preparation for Indiegogo. It was anything but a vacation. When traveling 200 miles from Bali to Java, I thought I’d take bus to get the culture experience. After 44 hours on the bus, which involved us stopping two extra times – once because we ran a motorcyclist off the road, and the other because the bus broke down and the driver had to hitchike twice to go get parts that worked so he could fix it, I made it. I then proceeded to get ripped off by cops, and almost kidnapped. Because of the 2 day delay, I was late to meeting a friend in a tiny town on the coast of java. There were no phones no internet. We were supposed to meet at a hostel, but I was late and the hostel that the guide book said was great had been torn down 7 years prior to that. I eventually found her after hiring a man to roam the streets of the town. A day later, we found ourselves hitchhiking back across java, and then we were back on a train where we had standing only tix for 8 hours. We switched off sleeping under seats where people would shove their plates when finished with food. Oh and then our bags got stolen! Pretty glamorous.Entrepreneurship is like traveling in a developing country.
  • The best analogy I have for entrepreneurship is traveling in a developing world. Anyone done this?Were you excited about the trip?Was it easy?Did everything go as planned and on time?Did youwish you were back home or somewhere else at least a few times?Happy you stuck it out? Hell yah.When I graduated college – I took a trip to Indonesia, and I had no idea it was going to be incredible preparation for Indiegogo. It was anything but a vacation. When traveling 200 miles from Bali to Java, I thought I’d take bus to get the culture experience. After 44 hours on the bus, which involved us stopping two extra times – once because we ran a motorcyclist off the road, and the other because the bus broke down and the driver had to hitchike twice to go get parts that worked so he could fix it, I made it. I then proceeded to get ripped off by cops, and almost kidnapped. Because of the 2 day delay, I was late to meeting a friend in a tiny town on the coast of java. There were no phones no internet. We were supposed to meet at a hostel, but I was late and the hostel that the guide book said was great had been torn down 7 years prior to that. I eventually found her after hiring a man to roam the streets of the town. A day later, we found ourselves hitchhiking back across java, and then we were back on a train where we had standing only tix for 8 hours. We switched off sleeping under seats where people would shove their plates when finished with food. Oh and then our bags got stolen! Pretty glamorous.Entrepreneurship is like traveling in a developing country.
  • The best analogy I have for entrepreneurship is traveling in a developing world. Anyone done this?Were you excited about the trip?Was it easy?Did everything go as planned and on time?Did youwish you were back home or somewhere else at least a few times?Happy you stuck it out? Hell yah.When I graduated college – I took a trip to Indonesia, and I had no idea it was going to be incredible preparation for Indiegogo. It was anything but a vacation. When traveling 200 miles from Bali to Java, I thought I’d take bus to get the culture experience. After 44 hours on the bus, which involved us stopping two extra times – once because we ran a motorcyclist off the road, and the other because the bus broke down and the driver had to hitchike twice to go get parts that worked so he could fix it, I made it. I then proceeded to get ripped off by cops, and almost kidnapped. Because of the 2 day delay, I was late to meeting a friend in a tiny town on the coast of java. There were no phones no internet. We were supposed to meet at a hostel, but I was late and the hostel that the guide book said was great had been torn down 7 years prior to that. I eventually found her after hiring a man to roam the streets of the town. A day later, we found ourselves hitchhiking back across java, and then we were back on a train where we had standing only tix for 8 hours. We switched off sleeping under seats where people would shove their plates when finished with food. Oh and then our bags got stolen! Pretty glamorous.Entrepreneurship is like traveling in a developing country.
  • Clearly things didn’t go as planned, and took way longerWe launched in 2008 with the goal to prove some case studies and raise seed to grow further in Fall 2008. Then the market crashed, and stayed in the tank for 2-3 more years. We had wanted to expand beyond film in 2008, so after a year of watiing, we said screw it, let’s just expand. The market still was in the tank so we said, screw let’s just slug this out and grow with no money. So we did… and finally 3.5 years later our numbers were on fire, and guess who came knocking… VCs. At that point,
  • If we weren’t so damn stubborn, we wouldn’t have made it.My co-founder has a great quote. When one of our early employees Erica asked him in 2011, why did you guys stick it out. He replied: “we were passionate about fixing finance, despite reason.”
  • It’s the people who are connected and driven by that WHY that don’t just build companies, but great companies that matter in this world. It’s the people who are driven to create real meaning in this world that are far more successful at actually bringing meaning to others through their business. And when you create real meaning in people’s lives, your business matter.
  • So what I’m going to talk to you today about is NOT how to start a company. Besides the fact that no one can teach you that, the action required to start a company kind of takes care of itself (you don’t really need a blue print), but rather I’m going to talk to you about HOW to discover what truly matters to you. It might not be “THE” meaning of life, but I want to help you find what’s meaning IN YOUR life,And then how to take that WHY and make it the foundation on which you build your company. Because if you don’t do that, you won’t stand a chance in actually getting a company off the ground, and if you do do it, you actually might have the chance to build a company that creates real meaning and truly matters. What better a life than to lead one in creating meaning in your life, you create meaning in many others as well. READY? Ok here we go.
  • So how do you find what matters to you?Stop Looking.If you don’t have that perfect idea yet, and you’re looking for it. Stop! Stop looking and start noticing the world around you. There are opportunities everywhere.What’s meaningful comes out of you every time you get pissed off about something. Every time you get sad. Every time you feel the world is unfair. Every time you gleefully say yes, when someone asks you for your help. What’s meaningful is natural.For me…. I finally realized this when I found myself volunteering my time with filmmakers and theater producers. 
  • So how do you find what matters to you?Stop Looking.If you don’t have that perfect idea yet, and you’re looking for it. Stop! Stop looking and start noticing the world around you. There are opportunities everywhere.What’s meaningful comes out of you every time you get pissed off about something. Every time you get sad. Every time you feel the world is unfair. Every time you gleefully say yes, when someone asks you for your help. What’s meaningful is natural.For me…. I finally realized this when I found myself volunteering my time with filmmakers and theater producers. 
  • For me…. I finally realized this when I was working in Finance. I had been invited to an event called “hollywood meets wall street” I went because I was curious about what it was going to be like. I though it’d be full of hollywood producers and big wall street bankers.Not that at all.  
  • For me…. I finally realized this when I found myself volunteering my time with filmmakers and theater producers. When I returned, 2 days later I got a script with note. It broke my heart. I did what any young 22 year old in tears would do, I called my mom. After 20 minutes of verbal vomiting about how unfair the world was, and how brilliant people like this man – with a life time of experience – were begging nobodies like me – with no experience – for money, just because I worked at a bank, my mom finally got a word in.And she said, well if you’r that upset about it, do something about it.
  • So I did. I started working with theater producers and film producers on the sideBut I finally realized what mattered to me, in a culminating moment when I failed at getting an arthur miller play financed. In the moment of failure I realized that the people that wanted the play to come to life, didn’t have the power to make it happen. And I thought that was a load of crap!
  • I was the child of 2 small business owners who I had watched for 30 plus years struggle to grow their business because they didn’t know the right people, and here I was doing it all over again… struggling to get ideas off the ground because I didn’t know the right people.I wasn’t looking for a new job. I wasn’t looking to start a company. I just wanted to help these brilliant people get their stories told. I followed my gut and my heart and stumbled my way into a problem that pissed me off at such a deep level, I couldn’t ignore it.In hindset… my whole was leading to this moment, I just didn’t see until I started to notice myself and my actions and where my heart was leading me.
  • So stop looking and start noticing. Tips for helping you to start Noticing and stop lookingbring a notebook & write down every time you get pissed off that’s something’s not working right, and see if there’s any recurring themesyou’ll quickly notice that there’s lots of problems in the world!You might go from not having a ‘good idea’ to having too many.If that’s the case, then approach these ideas like dating. Lots of men in the world, or women, but all you need is one.meditate.. it really helps with self-awareness
  • And if you do have an idea, double check and make sure you’ve got a good why… that your heart and mind are in sync.
  • And if you do have an idea, double check and make sure you’ve got a good why… that your heart and mind are in sync.A great exercise to do is what I learned in Business School called the 5 Whys. “the Business of Happiness”To get to the authentic root of something, ask your self why, then why again, and then why a few more times until you can’t go any further with logic. You bump up into emotion or beliefs.
  • IMAGE – 5 Why’sWhy are you starting IndiegogoBecause I want to democratize fundingWhy do I want to democratize fundingBecause everyone should have an equal opportunity in getting their dreams off the groundWhy should people have an equal opportunity?Because when people pursue their dreams, they’re happy and living more fully; and it’s not right fundraising success is based on knowing a gatekeeper with money. The system is set up only to help people connected to money get their ideas off the ground. It’s not right that ideas are going unborn every day to lack of access to capital. Why is that not right?It’s not right, because success should be based on heart and hustle, not luck. It should be fair.Why should it be fair?Really? Do I really have to answer that? Why do you love you kids? You just do. Do I really have to explain to you why life should be more fair I believe that everyone should have the right to fund what matters to them! It’s just the right thing to do.
  • IMAGE: heart and mind connectionYour why has to be such a core belief, you can’t explain it. It just is. And when you’ve gotten to that unexplainable place in yourself, you know it’s real, and know that you’ve found your WHY… your reason for being, and the guiding light and foundation upon which you’re going to build your entire company. Your WHY.
  • IMAGE – Founders – Your WHY finds you your partnersThe first thing it’s a foundation for is finding your partners in crime. Once you’re clear about what matters to you and what’s driving you, it makes it very easy to find partners who believe the same.  I had quit finance to change finance. When I arrived on campus, I wouldn’t stop talking about this problem and how I wanted to fix it.  Similar – don’t go looking for founders. Just share why you’re passionate about and they’ll find you. You can’t ask someone – do you believe what I believe. They have to hear you and approach you, and then over time they will prove to you that they’re in it for the right reason.
  • Your WHY gets your ego out of the way and allows you see what’s neededMy original idea was a fund for independent media. But when I met Slava, he asked if you really want to democratize funding, why don’t you use the internet. For years I had been honing on this idea. Was I going to give it all up? Yes, why? Because I wanted to solve a problem, not build a specific solution.My WHY kept me connected to the problem, not the solve. 
  • Your WHY gets your ego out of the way and allows you see what’s needed… like a pivot.So back in 2006 was our first pivot. We realized that yes there were securities laws, but we were seeing twitter catch on, and myspace was all the rage, and youtube was taking off. Ebay was still on fire. If you could share, watch and buy from whoever, why couldn’t you fund what mattered to you. It seemed to obvious not to do, and it was clearly going to help far more people. anyone can share` an idea for the world to read on sites like twitteran anyone can sell anything on sites like eBay, then why can’t anyone share their idea for the world to fund? Read what you wantWatch what you wantBuy what you wantWhy can’t you fund what you want?
  • IMAGE –Your why helps you articulate and keeps you focused on your purpose, not your solution.
  • WE discovered that we all came to work because we wanted to trump the status quo. None of us cared the finance was the old curmogeony industry. We were FEARLESSWe discovered that we all came to work because we wanted to bring our whole selves to work. We were all authentically passionate about this problem, so we could remain ourselves.WE discovered that we all came to work because we wanted to solve this problem together… with others. We needed eachother.We discovered that we all came to work because we wanted to help people. In fixing finance, we were going to help people dreams happen.
  • What we did as an exercise to help us HIRE, did so much more.
  • What we did as an exercise to help us HIRE, did so much more.Indiegogo’s is the oldest and still to this day the only crowdfunding platform that launched to provide an equal opportunity. To be equal opportunity, we’re open. We don’t judge. There’s no application. In order to empower people to fund what matters to them and make finance fair once and for all, we have to be OPEN.How can we make finance fair if we’re just another gatekeeper.er.. 
  •  To empower people to fund what matters to them across the world, we have to be available across the world. Global payments4 currencies3 languagesWe’re in every country of the world, every industry from cuase, to entreprneurial to creative. And we’ve helped over 100,000 people go after their dreams. At any given time 7000 people are using Indiegogo and we’re distributing $millions a week to people and their ideas across the world.
  • I don’t know if this is a coincidence, but to be successful on Indiegogo, you need to exhibit FACE as well. Fearless – put yourself out thereAuthenitc – be yoruself. Raise more money. People with videos raise 114% moreCaollaborative – have a team. Peoplewith team raise 100% moreEmpowerment – you have to empower your funders. You treat them like donors you won’t be successful. Treat them like partners, invite them in. you’ll be wildly successful.
  • So what’s the future for Indiegogo? I don’t know. All I know is if I keep paying close attention to my why, we’ll find our way.

Startupfest 2013 - From Founding to Future: Building What Matters - Danae Ringelmann Startupfest 2013 - From Founding to Future: Building What Matters - Danae Ringelmann Presentation Transcript

  • Danae Ringelmann, CFA Founder & Chief Customer Officer @indiegogo | @gogodanae From Founding to Future: Building What Matters
  • Plan Launch Raise Seed Expand beyond film Grow Market Crashes Raise Seed Expanded beyond film Market still in the tank Grow w/ no money Raise Series A Reality 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Grow Languages & Currencies Languages & Currencies
  • “We were passionate about what we were doing, despite reason.”“What made you stick it out?”
  • Meaning = What matters
  • How to find what matters to you?
  • Stop Looking How to find what matters to you?
  • How to find what matters to you?
  • Why Indiegogo? I want to democratize funding Why do I want to democratize funding? Because finance is broken, and rigged by gatekeepers Why are gatekeepers not good? They don’t allow for an equal opportunity Why is equal opportunity important? Because life should be fair. Why should life be fair? Really? And why do you love your kids. You just do. Life should just be fair. It’s just what I believe.
  • Your WHY…. … finds you your partners
  • Your WHY…. … gets your ego out of your way
  • Why can’t we fund what matters to us?
  • Your WHY…. … helps you articulate your purpose
  • Your Purpose Your business Your Values Your WHY + PURPOSE… … helps you clarify your values
  • F. A. C. E.
  • Your WHY + PURPOSE + VALUES…. …hire amazing people
  • Your WHY + PURPOSE + VALUES…. …determines your Strategy
  • Your WHY + PURPOSE + VALUES…. …determines your product
  • Your WHY + PURPOSE + VALUES…. …determines your customer
  • WHO WE ARE EmpowermentCollaborationFearlessness Authenticity Our Purpose To empower people to fund what matters to them. Indiegogo.com Our Values
  • Thank You