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How to use crowdfunding to relaunch trades and professions

The coronavirus pandemic has deeply affected businesses around the world, and the owners had to be creative in order to survive the difficult period. A lot of them turned to crowdfunding, as the only way to be able to stay afloat. Several crowdfunding campaigns, including that of Barberino’s and Le Cesarine showed the power of crowdfunding especially in times of crisis.

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The fundraisers of four startups, from Cesarine to Barberino’s, from Blovery to AvvocatoFlash, showed how crowdfunding can help projects for professionals and artisans.

This 2020 has forced people to rethink many business models. Traditional trades and professions are also reorganizing, using the online as a driver of development. Not only in terms of selling goods and services, but also to raise the capital needed to support the change of pace with crowdfunding equity campaigns (raising capital from a mass of distributed investors).

Find out more about the importance of crowdfunding and how different businesses in Italy managed to cope with the coronavirus crisis by relying on crowdfunding, with our companion app. Read the latest business news and stay on top of the market with the Born2Invest mobile app.

Traditional barberry and innovation

This is the challenge of Barberino’s, the chain born in Milan in 2015, and inspired by the Sicilian tradition. During the health emergency, Barberino’s tried to be ahead of the game: “We were the first to introduce shaving bonds on our eCommerce – said Michele Callegari, co-founder of the group. With a click, our customers could buy electronic vouchers that gave them the right to haircuts or shaves to use when reopening at a discounted price. We created a virtual shop, giving the possibility to book free video consulting via email. We have also enhanced the online shop and delivery.”

Now Barberino’s has just closed a record campaign on Mamacrowd: $1.13 million (€1 million) in equity crowdfunding, collected in just 20 days. Money that will support both the opening of new shops and the creation of an online barbershop academy, scheduled for the end of 2020. The raising of fresh capital has immediately borne fruit, with the opening of ten new jobs.

Italian regional cuisine: Le Cesarine

Even homemade pasta and traditional regional cuisine are renewed through the web. This is the case of Le Cesarine: the oldest network of homemade cooks in Italy, who welcome gourmets and travelers from all over the world to their homes, offering the experience of cooking and then eating together typical Italian dishes. A system of physical sharing of space put into strong discussion by the pandemic. “From the end of February to the end of June we stopped the activities at home – explained Maria Letizia Zuffi, general manager of Le Cesarine – but now we are back again and our Cesarine ensures the same security measures as a restaurant.”

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“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have increased our offer of recipes and online courses, contents that have had great success, said Zuffi. That’s why we decided to strengthen the online development. Our crowdfunding equity campaign will start in the next few days on Crowdfundme with a collection target of $570,000 – $683,000 (€500,000 – €600,000) and will allow us to activate new services. We will launch online and live cooking support. It will be possible to prepare dishes together even if from a distance, both through video chat and social channels (Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp). We are also planning to open an online store, which will sell only regional products, selected from Cesarine’s all over Italy.”

From nursery to florist: Bloovery

Bloovery is an Italian startup that wants to innovate the flower industry, shortening the chain from the producer to the florist thanks to an online platform. The shorter and more integrated the chain, the lower the costs. Here too, it is about a sector that was hit hard during the lockdown period, with thousands of tons of flowers and plants gone to waste because at that time the retail sale was totally stopped. However, now the sales have started again and it is essential for those who sell – the florists – to buy quality flowers and plants at the lowest possible price.

“Bloovery is the most interesting novelty in a sector with a high potential for innovation, worth $16 billion (€14 billion) in Europe, of which $10.2 billion (€9 billion) in only the 5 main markets, including Italy – explained Simone Guzzetti, CEO and co-founder of Bloovery. During the lockdown period we noticed an approach to digital and greater sensitivity of customers to online sales: in May 2020, we had a 50% increase in registrations to the platform. We aim to innovate the supply chain on the B2B (business to business, ed. ndr) side, acting as a flywheel for the restart of the production and distribution sector that for our country represents an important asset in terms of GDP, induced, employment.”

Bloovery was in the equity crowdfunding campaign until July 3rd, collecting almost $186,000 (€164,000). The funds will be used both to improve the Bloovery.com website and to start the expansion abroad, towards Germany and the UK, two key markets in Europe.

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The right lawyer just a click away: AvvocatoFlash

Finding a trusted lawyer is never easy. Besides, why go in person to a professional firm when you can find the perfect lawyer for your needs from the comfort of your own home? That’s the idea behind AvvocatoFlash, the online legal services platform that makes it easy, fast and free to find a lawyer. 

Obviously it is both a convenient opportunity for users and a potential new channel for professionals to acquire clients. A possibility that the market seems to have smelled, with already 178 registered (and paying) lawyers at the end of May. Four times as many as there were only in February. The startup is incubated in Luiss Enlabs in Rome and is now increasing its capital via crowdfunding. Having passed the threshold of $267,000(€235,000), the next and final goal is the hard cap of $342,000 (€300,000).

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(Featured image by nastya_gepp via Pixabay)

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First published in WIRED.IT, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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Anne Kings is a reporter for the financial sector, often tackling Wall Street and shareholders' interests. She also covers the intersection of media and technology, and delves into interesting topics on entertainment. Sometimes she also writes about the cannabis industry, in particular CBD and hemp. She is currently based in New York.