You’ve heard of Kickstarter, but what about Lucky Ant?
Today the hyper-local crowd-funding operation branched out from New York and started helping raise money in our region.
Lucky Ant co-founder Nate Echeverria says Philly has small businesses and entrepreneurs doing cool things and looking for ways to expand. The problem? They need money.
“We bill ourselves as the first hyperlocal crowd-funding website for small businesses,” said Echeverria. “We’re specifically geared toward brick and mortar business: bars, cafes, bike shops, things like that.”
Echeverria says a lot of small businesses struggle to find small loans — often resorting to credit cards and savings accounts.
“We try to plug that hole in the small business financing market — which is those small amounts of capital: between $3,000 and $20,000 that a lot of small businesses need but have a really difficult time accessing,” he said.
Lucky Ant’s starting with a handful of Philadelphia area businesses including Media’s “Rockdale Music,” which is looking to build additional studio space, and independent designers from Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties who want to start their own line of hand-made clutches and bags.
Reanimator Coffee Roasters, a small locally-owned coffee roaster from Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood is using Lucky Ant to buy new equipment.
“We have signed the lease on a new facility that will become our roast space and lab where we’ll be able to increase production and bring customers in to let them see what we do,” said Reanimator owner Mark Capriotti.
People who contribute are not investors, but they do get rewards based on how much they give. For Reanimator, the benefits include free coffee and classes.
Lucky Ant’s Nate Echeverria says the company takes between 10 and 15 percent of the funds raised — depending on the size of the project.
And it’s an all or nothing system — a contributor’s credit card isn’t charged until the project reaches its goal.
“That’s kind of the psychology of crowd-funding this idea that it only goes through if the crowd helps it go through,” said Echeverria.
In the company’s first six months — 10 New York businesses have successfully raised just over $100,000.