I’d like to thank the crew at Leverage PR for helping me learn more about Twist Rate – an innovative way to fund ideas, prototypes, production, marketing and more. I need to tell you – if you haven’t heard of “crowdsourcing”- you soon will. It’s an innovative way for entrepeneurs to get that boost they are looking for, to get their ideas to market. I’d like to thank Evan Hafer, the CEO of TwistRate, for taking the time to answer some questions. ~DesertRat
1. Desert Rat Outdoors: For those unfamiliar with crowdsourcing and similar programs, just how effective can it be?
Evan Hafer: If someone can raise $51,000 in a matter of days to make a batch of potato salad, I’d say crowdfunding is working very well. Crowdfunding is in its infancy, however, donor-reward crowdfunding projects are expected to grow to $93 billion by 2025 – that’s a lot of potato salad. What’s happening in the market is that new platforms are launching to serve the needs of different groups of people. TwistRate, for example saw a huge need for a place where the projects and passions of hunters, military, law enforcement and outdoor enthusiasts could get funded. While we just launched over the Fourth of July weekend, we’re already seeing a very positive response from the community.
2. DRO: What is the advantage of TwistRate over similar funding sites?
EH: Most crowdfunding platforms will not allow products and services produced by our community on their site. A techie from San Francisco can fund a new smart watch, but a former Special Forces veteran can’t bring a life-saving Kevlar vest to market or a new flashlight holder for police belts. The main advantage of TwistRate is the fact that we exist to fund all America’s innovators. We think new life-saving products and technologies that make hunting, fishing and outdoor play better are just as worthy of dollars as potato salad. There are other differences as well. We don’t just help inventors get funded. We also have services designed to take new products from idea to prototype to patenting, funding and retail sales and distribution. TwistRate is an end-to-end solution for those looking to turn their ideas into reality.
3. DRO: How has the reception been?
EH: Pretty amazing so far! The calls and emails have been pouring in from our community, and our campaigners are having great success. The number one crowdfunding platform in the world, Kickstarter, receives $127 per contributor, based on their last quarter. Our average contribution per donor is $160, and we are just starting to get noticed. This illustrates the enthusiasm investors have shown for a place where they can turn their ideas into action.
4. DRO: What has been the most successful campaign to date?
EH: The BallSkinz campaign, Vi Diamond’s invention, has raised 30 percent of its $5,000 goal in just nine days. He’s just starting, but he’s already determined that there’s a real market for his product. Twistrate allowed him to validate his idea without a lot of risk or time. It’s great that he could do a trial run and get market feedback in his spare time, while being a full-time employee and a father to two kids.
Vi broke his back during a Navy SEAL training mission. After he saw what exercise did for his rehabilitation, he became a CrossFit trainer and now owns several CrossFit gyms. BallSkinz came from his frustrations over not being able to bring all his exercise gear on the road. So he came up with a medicine ball, actually a medicine ball cover that you can fill with popcorn, BBs, ball bearings, etc., to get the weight you want. It’s one of those “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that?” devices. Check out his video here.
5. DRO: What prompted you to create it?
EH: TwistRate was launched after my partner, Jeff, a life-long inventor, was rejected from a major crowdfunding platform for his Touniquet belt, which will save lives in the field. We thought it was messed up that some kid could raise tens of thousands for potato salad, but veterans, police and other inventors in our industry were not allowed to list products. There was nowhere that our community could go to get its projects and passions funded, so we created TwistRate to serve every day Americans, not just the tech community.
I’ve been an inventor, investor and entrepreneur for a good part of my adult life. While simultaneously serving in the military and other government organizations, I have always mentored my fellow veteranpreneurs. I’ve commercialized government and defense projects, and I’ve invested in the projects of my fellow inventors. I have seen a great need for a place where inventors who create products for our market can turn their vision into a reality.
Just because you don’t live in New York or San Francisco doesn’t mean you don’t have good ideas. We believe there are good ideas to be found in all parts of America. The man who builds a new Kevlar vest or a magnetized device that a police officer can wear on his hip, so he can reload with one hand, has as much a right as a software developer to raise capital for their inventions.
6. DRO: Evan, you’re a hunter – what is your favorite thing to hunt?
EH: I love pheasant hunting with my dog Karl – an award winning bird dog. However, I love elk hunting, too, because it’s so challenging. It’s an individual endeavor that requires a significant amount of strategy to track and out-maneuver these beasts. The whole environmental spectrum comes in to play. What you wear, how you move, your scent, the wind, the sun and the rain all play a part. And the run-up to elk season is a year-long commitment. My whole family goes up in the mountains every chance we get to gather intelligence, collect horns, track and note the movement of the herd.
7. DRO: What fishing trip tops your wish list?
EH: I’d love to fly fish for salmon in Siberia.
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