5 Crowdfunders to Watch – Aiming High

The five women featured in our latest column have big fundraising goals, and even bigger aspirations for their ventures.

Maria Kleftodimou Smith By Maria Kleftodimou Smith

The female founders highlighted in this edition of our ongoing crowdfunding column are making workouts safer for women, cooking up delicious jerky inspired by Native American recipes, and much more. And to realize their dreams, they’ve set ambitious goals for their crowdfunding campaigns.

Check out these 5 women-led crowdfunding campaigns:

1. Ensuring Women Always Feel Safe (via StartEngine)


The Business: Kimberly Caccavo and Kate Nowlan met training for a triathlon benefitting the Chelsea’s Light Foundation, an organization that honors a 17-year-old girl who was raped and murdered during a run. Soon after, they teamed up to design clothing that would help women feel safe and empowered, while breaking a sweat. Their company GracedbyGrit, sells a line of women’s athletic wear with pockets for cellphones, UPF 50+ protection and, most importantly, a safety whistle — all built in. The company still works with Chelsea’s Light, and even named a pair of leggings after Chelsea, with up to $50 from each legging purchase going to the foundation. Since the company’s launch in 2013, it has sold approximately 48,000 items and generated over $2.5 million in revenue.
The Money: With 14 days to go, this equity campaign has 129 investors and has surpassed its goal of raising $107,000. Investors who want a stake in GracedbyGrit’s future can make a minimum investment of $320 for 2,000 shares. The money will be used to launch new collections for snow, tennis and golf enthusiasts and to optimize the GracedbyGrit website.

2. “The Life Coach that Fits in Your Backpack” (via Kickstarter)


The Business: Angelia Trinidad is no stranger to crowdfunding. She launched her first Kickstarter campaign in 2013 for the Passion Planner, a vegan faux-leather bound paper planner. No typical weekly and monthly appointment calendar, it features a customizable road map for achieving goals, blank pages for doodling or jotting down extra lists, and reflection logs so users can see what they have done — and what still needs to be accomplished. Now, Trinidad is fundraising for her newest idea: Passion Planner Eco. This version will be made of 100-percent recycled paper and come in two pieces: a booklet and a decorative faux-leather cover. Each year, customers need only purchase a new booklet, saving both materials and money. Trinidad will also plant one tree for every planner sold through the campaign thanks to a partnership with One Tree Planted. During the past 4 years, Passion Planner has gained a cult following among millennials and on social media (#PashFam) and has been featured in publications like Refinery29 and The Washington Post.
The Money: Each of Trinidad’s six Kickstarter campaigns have surpassed their goals — and the Passion Planner Eco campaign is no exception. With 53 days to go, the campaign has raised $259,175, though it only had a $10,000 goal. The money will go towards materials and manufacturing of the new Passion Planner Eco.

3. Normalizing ‘Everyday’ Sex (via iFundWomen)

The Business: Cindy Gallop is a 57-year-old woman who often dates men in their 20s. Through her sexual encounters, Gallop has learned that many young people believe hardcore pornography is representative of everyday sexual relationships. Because of an increased access to porn and lack of quality sexual education in schools, pornography is becoming a kind of alternate sex-ed for children and teens, leaving them with unrealistic expectations of sex. At a TED conference in 2009, Gallop launched MakeLoveNotPorn.com, a website described as “Pro-sex. Pro-porn. Pro-knowing the difference.” Then in 2013, Gallop launched MakeLoveNotPorn.tv, a website featuring crowdsourced consensual sex videos. The website has over 400,000 contributors, and Gallop and her sole employee, Sarah Beall, have done the work of maintaining the database themselves. Gallop hopes these websites will make it “easier for the world to talk about sex.”
The Money: With 146 days left, Gallop has raised $53,759 of her $500,000 goal. The funds will allow her to hire more employees to help run both websites and pay for marketing to expand their reaches.

4. Virtual Infertility Help (via StartEngine)

The Business: When Alice Crisci was diagnosed with cancer, she worried she would never be able to have a child. Worse, her doctors couldn’t agree on a course of treatment, and she struggled to make an informed decision. To help others get access to good healthcare information, Crisci in 2016 launched MedAnswers with partners Santiago Munne and Joshua Sams. The app, available on iTunes since June, connects patients to doctors who can answer infertility questions. According to Crisci, there are around 40 million infertile people worldwide, and she aims to help every one of them achieve their family planning goals by providing them with the information they need.
The Money: With 48 days remaining in Crisci’s equity campaign, she has raised $5,800 of her $107,000 goal. On StartEngine, investors can make a $250 minimum investment for a stake in the company. The money raised will be used to launch future app upgrades, including multi-lingual options, and for an Android release.

5. Bringing Native American Traditions to the Masses (via Wefunder)


The Business: Karlene Hunter spent years working on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, which taught her a great deal about local Native American food culture. In 2007, she and partner Mark Tilsen released Tanka bars, snack bars made from dried buffalo meat and berries that are similar to a Lakota food called Wasna, but in packaged form. In Lakota culture, highly acidic fruits like cranberries are used to preserve meat. Currently, they sell the bars in more than 6,500 locations across the country. But as bigger companies have moved into the packaged-meat snack market, Tanka bar sales have declined. Hunter and Tilsen are looking to crowdfunding in hopes of turning the tide.
The Money: Hunter’s campaign has raised $76,137 of a $1.07 million goal. The money raised will go toward updated packaging and marketing, which the duo hopes will make them more competitive in the jerky market against giants like Hershey and General Mills.

Want to be featured in The Story Exchange’s Crowdfunding column? Drop us a line and tell us about your campaign at info@thestoryexchange.org.

Posted: August 8, 2017

Maria Kleftodimou Smith5 Crowdfunders to Watch – Aiming High