Our 30 day Kickstarter campaign ended today. The goal was to reach 60 retail customers in advance by taking crab orders at lower than retail price. The thought was that this would give a critical mass to justify the start-up costs of setting up a shipping system. We know shipping is expensive so that is a detriment to these sales.
The campaign ended with just 5 pledges. I obviously have more to learn about these campaigns. Meanwhile, however, we put a massive wholesale sales system in place and are working on an alternate retail distribution method using a food truck.
The next retail project we try is likely to be an online auction system to price and allocate crabs during periods of peak demand like holiday weekends.
There are several ways to invest in aquaculture and fisheries. We used private investors in the past including a locally crowdfunded financing of a watermen under a split-catch arrangement. We are now exploring a wider range of options including recruiting additional private investment.
Potentially one of the easiest ways would be through a crowdfunded securities offering. The Securities and Exchange Commission sets limits on how and how much an investor can invest in crowdfunded offerings. Nantuxent Seafood is not involved in a crowdfunded securities offering but may consider this option in the future.
This blog post is written as part of the ongoing exploration of new sources of funding for growth. This is not an investment offering. The method of financial expansion eventually selected must consider the needs of our customers relative to their financial interest in our seafood. We must also consider the overall reinvestment plan for the marina and the working waterfront community.
The following table provides a few examples of investment limits set by SEC. You will notice that the limits are low for most working class people:
Yesterday I attended the annual alumni homecoming event for my alma mater Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. I am biased of course but I think DelVal is the ultimate stronghold of agricultural entrepreneurship in this part of the country. Many of the region’s farm and food company managers are fellow alumni.
I sat with a classmate from the agricultural school with the same age and major. He and his wife listened to my story of seafood expansion at Money Island. Then I asked them what they did. They are both retired from a local pharmaceutical firm. Here I am just starting out in a new business venture at age 57. Classmates are retired. The contrast hit me hard. Our paths over the past 35 years since we parted at commencement in 1982 led to vastly different positions in life.
We discussed the challenges of Nantuxent Seafood: dealing with government, rising water levels, Sandy recovery, and capital needs. They listened to my comments and offered words of encouragement “We know you’ll be successful”. Then they asked “How can we do to support you?” All I could suggest was that I am active on social media and that I am working on several crowdfunding ideas. We discussed why I thought crowdfunding was important to a venture like this. Community support for the future of sustainable aquaculture is as important as the funding itself. This conversation added to my inclination that I am ready to take the next steps in developing a support base through crowdfunding.
During the day I received valuable bits of advice from the former college president, the former dean of the agriculture school, and a successful business person who was a wrestling teammate. I take it all quite seriously. By the end of the day I left with a short ‘to do’ list to help bring Nantuxent Seafood to the next level. This coming week I expect to complete my HACCP federal seafood safety training certification, talk with existing environmental partners and open discussions with new potential financial partners.