Before we dive head into 2015, we’d like to give you an insight on the experience of a true Impact Hub Amsterdam hero: a scaling entrepreneur who is filling the gaps in our current social system with an economic and socially sustainable solution. Meet Konnektid’s CEO Michel Visser. In a celebratory mood in Impact Hub Amsterdam’s Boardroom, he is eager to share with us how to crowdfund over €100.000, how to both promote social cohesion and welfare, and how you can get involved.
Konnektid recently gained over €275.000 in funding, partially from the crowd and from a European Union subsidy. A fairly solid question is: what comes next? We are curious about when the company is successful and what are the returns to the crowd. “Back to business”, the social entrepreneur replies briefly and powerfully. What we know is that Konnektid is here to promote social inclusion, developing a skilled workforce that can respond to labour market needs and promoting lifelong learning, via an online up-side-down marketplace. So we couldn’t agree more, this means business, but let’s dive a bit deeper.
A decent life for all
“Compared to regular demand-driven online marketplaces with a 4-10% liquidity rate we operate around 80%.” Meaning Konnektid covers almost all incoming learning requests on the platform right away with a face-to-face learning solution provided by teachers right around the corner in your own neighbourhood. In terms of the European Union’s ‘A Decent Life for All’ resolution, Konnektid is the actual embodiment of a human development service covering gaps in the current labour market. “Two years ago I said we were successful with over 100 members; currently we are aiming for 25.000 members in 2015.”
Looking at an average of 10 connections per 100 members we can imagine how member growth directly increases chances of participation, promotes entrepreneurship and stimulates youth employment.
Impact Hub as business ‘particle accelerator’
Michel is currently involved in all sorts of advisory meetings with institutions including the Amsterdam Economic Board, the national government and the Chamber of Commerce on what challenges startups and social entrepreneurs encounter and how policy should be adapted to support them.
You came a long way since the first lunch sessions in Impact Hub’s former location on the Westerstraat, where you had a chance to first test your business idea.
“First I was kind of sceptic when I joined, but I soon found out the place was packed with hard working social entrepreneurs. I learned my first steps in starting Konnektid by asking all sorts of questions to the advisors around me. As you grow you find other people to engage, the available pool of interns provided by the Impact Hub is a great example how I got connected then. Nowadays besides the office space in Amsterdam, the network is there to build international connections. During my last trip to San Francisco it was great to find a list of all local key stakeholders and peers on the sharing economy right there on my temporary desk at Impact Hub SF.”
Crowdfund 100K and grow 100%
Please explain… you followed some sessions in the Crowd Acceleration Programme by fellow member Teach2Fish, and raised over €100.000 a few months later… “The key is to take a long time to prepare before you start the actual funding. Especially with equity crowdfunding an initial planning period is crucial, some time to start raising money beforehand for instance.”
During its actual crowdfunding campaign Konnektid found out that serving two goals: raising money and doing overall marketing for the brand, in the same campaign was not leading to success. “Crowdfunding is a great marketing tool, we grew 100% faster in members, but you need to focus on one of the two.” Along with several ad hoc coaching sessions by Impact Hub experts, Michel and his team made it possible to quickly shift the marketing approach and tone-of-voice. “We got what we hoped for by being part of the Impact Hub ecosystem.” During the campaign, the platform received extra gain in visibility through additional marketing communication, moral and business support, expert coaching and a significant group of funders. With the campaign behind, Konnetid is just getting started with its next level – congratulations to the team for its commitment and hard work… let the learning grow!
“Dare to act as you see yourself, instead of communicating what you stand for. Your whole company needs to live and be able to show what you are about. From professionalism to how you appear, all has to be aligned.”, Michel Visser.
Konnektid is an online community with which you can learn everything from people in your neighbourhood. Via Konnektid you can get in contact with people who can teach you offline whatever you want – for free, from first aid to gardening and social media expertise. Konnektid went live in 2014 and has on average over 3400 members who help each other learn new skills.
Are you a social entrepreneur? Being around like-minded peers helps to accelerate your business faster. Book your first Impact Hub experience during a free What’s Hub and discover your business growth possibilities here.