This post is also available in: Danish

Essentially, crowdfunding is a method of raising capital for startups through small contributions from a large number of people – the crowd.

However, the method has developed into a diverse subset of ways to crowdfund which can be used from smaller €10.000 test initiatives to multimillion euro equity deals.

Danes and Danish companies raised DKK300 million from crowdfunding in 2021. It is typically done through online platforms such as IDA Crowdfunding. The platforms allow the crowd to browse and support a range of different projects. The reward for investing can be a product, equity in the company or a fixed return on the investment like a loan.

No matter the reward, crowdfunding comes with some key benefits. It provides access to a large pool of potential investors. This can be particularly valuable for startups that may not have access to traditional sources of funding, such as venture capital. Additionally, crowdfunding allows startups a way to validate their product or service by gauging interest and demand from the market early on.

Crowdfunding can also be a way for startups to build a community around their product or service. By engaging with a lot of small investors (sometimes many thousands) and sharing their story, startups can create a loyal following that help drive future growth and support.

An informed choice

However, crowdfunding rarely succeeds by just throwing a campaign onto some platform expecting investors to come.

One of the main challenges is to stand out among the large number of projects and startups vying for funding on these platforms. It can be a time-consuming process that requires significant preparation and planning. Startups will need to create a compelling pitch, develop a marketing strategy, and set realistic funding goals in order to be successful.

Additionally, various ways of crowdfunding come with their own legal and regulatory challenges which might add to the complexity.

The most common ways of crowdfunding:

  • Reward-based crowdfunding: In reward-based crowdfunding, backers provide funding in exchange for a reward, such as early access to a product or service, exclusive merchandise, or other perks. This can be a good option for startups that are looking to build buzz and generate early sales.
  • Equity crowdfunding: In equity crowdfunding, investors provide funding in exchange for a stake in the company. This can be an effective way for startups to raise capital while also building a community of supporters who are invested in the success of the company.
  • Donation-based crowdfunding: In donation-based crowdfunding, backers provide funding out of goodwill or a desire to support a cause or project. This can be a good option for charitable organizations or creative projects that are looking to raise funds without offering a specific product or service in return.
  • Debt crowdfunding: In debt crowdfunding, investors provide funding in exchange for the promise of repayment with interest. This can be an effective way for startups to raise capital while also building a track record of creditworthiness.
  • Hybrid crowdfunding: In hybrid crowdfunding, startups may use a combination of the above methods to raise funds.

Make or break

Crowdfunding can essentially make or break startups – especially early-stage startups, who might be off to an incredible start if they succeed in selling their first million worth of products before even properly launching their company.

Ironically, such incredible success can also lead to their demise before they get started if they fail to deliver on an overly successful campaign that exceeds their manufacturing capabilities. Just search for “Coolest Cooler”.

There are different types of crowdfunding which can be tailored to meet the specific needs of different types of startups and projects. By choosing the right type of crowdfunding and developing a strong marketing and outreach strategy, startups can raise the funds they need to grow and succeed.

3 Danish startups who crowdfunded successfully

  • Organic Basics: Was one of the Danish pioneers when it raised $20.000 to produce its first batch of sustainable clothing back in 2014. The startups used the reward-based method where backers got a reward – e.g. a pair of socks – in return for their early investment. The brand has used Kickstarter multiple times since.
  • LabFresh: Has used reward-based crowdfunding on Kickstarter as a strategic marketing and fundraising tool since the brand’s inception. Through four successful campaigns, each with new clothing products, they have raised €830.000 and amassed 10.000 backers.
  • LuggageHero: Is one of few Danish startups to successfully raise money through equity crowdfunding. Two times the startups raised rounds on the platform Seeds with an aim to expand into new markets. Totalt investment: €2.111.765 from 1.617 backers.

The article is part of the magazine “The Guide – A comprehensive overview of the Danish startup ecosystem”, published by Heyfunding and

Read the full magazine here: