As a traveler headed to a new location, there are usually two or three options when searching for an accommodation, all with their own unique set of tradeoffs: there is the hotel, the hostel, and in some places bed and breakfasts. While many people may be happy with these options, they leave a lot to be desired for others, which is exactly why AirBNB came onto the scene. In today’s addition of Businesses with Bang!, we look at how this little startup could shake up the entire hotel industry and change the way we travel.

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, there are always a number of factors that affect your experience – some of them are in your control, others aren’t. One of the top factors in determining the outcome of your travelling experience is your accommodation. Thanks to the Internet and social networks, it has become a lot easier to find a great place to stay; however, for those who have outgrown hostels, are sick of the traditional hotel experience, and can’t afford a bed and breakfast, there have traditionally been very few options. Enter AirBNB.

AirBNB (short for Air Bed & Breakfast) is an online network that connects travelers to a global network of accommodations offered by locals. Locals from around the world list a room in their place, or the entire place, on the AirBNB website, giving travelers an opportunity to stay like a local. Whether you are looking for a couch in a college suite, a luxury condo in downtown, or a castle in the countryside, chances are you will find it on the site.

AirBNB was started in 2008 by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia in San Francisco, when they saw an opportunity to provide out-of-town conference attendees with a new option to overpriced hotels. They realized that there were probably hundreds, if not thousands, of people scattered throughout cities around the world that would be willing to rent out an empty bedroom in their house or apartment for a fair price. And they imagined that thousands of travelers would jump all over the idea of staying with locals for a fraction of the cost of a hotel. As I recently saw first hand, they were right.

Last month I needed to make a business trip to Seattle for four days. The thought of spending five nights solo in a budget hotel didn’t overwhelm me with enthusiasm – and for the company, five nights in a hotel isn’t even economical. After hearing about AirBNB through the grapevine of the Internet, I thought that it would be a good chance to test it out, so I booked a room.

The room was in a great location, the host was incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, and the price was less than half what hotels in the area would charge. And the benefits extend beyond that; rather than feeling like a time-crunched tourist, I was able to learn about what areas to go to, what areas not to go to, and how to get around as cost-effectively and quickly as possible. I was pointed to all the local hotspots for food, music and whatever else I needed. The result was a much better trip, from both a business and personal perspective, than I ever thought possible.

While it might seem like a bit of a wild concept, many people are buying in. The obvious concern for people on both sides of the transaction is trust; for renters, there is the concern of letting a person you have never met stay at your place, while for travelers, the concern is whether or not the place will be as advertised. Those problems, however, can be overcome in large part due to the advent of social networks, which help create a high level of transparency and accountability, as both renters and travelers can rate and review each other for everyone else to see.

Up to this point, AirBNB has been a wild success. Just last month they had their one millionth booking, which is even more incredible when you consider that they had only 100,000 bookings in January of 2010. People on all sides of the equation are happy – travelers save money and get a better experience, renters make money and get to meet new people, and AirBNB, who makes 10% on every transaction, is able to scale out their network to new locations and add more staff.

The most intriguing part about AirBNB, however, is how it could reshape the entire way we travel. Over the long run, as more and more people try out the service and become members of the site, network effects will start to take place. With the speed of communication that social networking enables, the word about certain places will get out and make them increasingly more popular to stay, which in turn will make renting both an exciting and profitable experience for owners. As they reveal their experiences to friends in their networks, more people will leap on board to rent out a room. If both travelers and renters start to see AirBNB as the way to go, a hospitality industry transformation would ensue.

While this scenario might seem like a fantasy, it’s clear that services like AirBNB are in high demand. People want more personalized, friendly experiences, and they want to pay fair prices to get them. Sites like AirBNB make that desire a reality.

So next time you’re headed off to travel, get a little adventurous and explore the AirBNB website, as you just might find the place that transforms your travel experience from mundane into marvelous. As the founder’s say, “travel like a human.”


PLAN – the Business Model

It’s a trend that can’t stopped – the entrepreneurial spirit has become viral in nations around the planet – and it’s only the beginning. Widespread social, economic and technological changes have inspired the entrepreneur within millions of people globally. In this version of Businesses with Bang!, we take a look at how ProFounder, an online fundraising platform for entrepreneurs, is ready to take this trend to a whole new level.

Back in August, we talked about “The Promise of Microfinance for Entrepreneurs,” and how it was only a matter of time before microfinance/crowdfunding models would be created to meet the fundraising needs of North American entrepreneurs. Our biggest question at the time was not if, but when would we see the new trend reach its tipping point and allow entrepreneurs to raise capital using the microfinance model online. Well, ProFounder provided us with an answer and it’s a lot sooner than we could have imagined.

ProFounder is an online platform that helps US-based entrepreneurs raise capital (up to a million dollars) using the crowdfunding model. The company’s founders have ingeniously created a system to navigate US Securities Laws to allow startups to raise mone publically or privately on the platform.

Investors from all over the world have the ability to get a piece of the startup pie by investing small amounts of capital in ventures of all different varieties. The beauty of ProFounder is that you, Joe, the everyday unaccredited investor, can get into the startup scene with just a few clicks of the mouse.

What ProFounder wants is “ a world in which all people are empowered to pursue their dreams through entrepreneurship.” By democratizing funding, they are removing a huge barrier for many entrepreneurs and enabling them to launch in a much shorter period of time.

So who are the architects behind the ProFounder platform?

Jessica Jackley, one of the co-founders of a little venture called Kiva, and
Dana Mauriello, an entrepreneur with a diverse background, came together to form ProFounder. Jessica left Kiva in 2009 to set the wheels for ProFounder in motion and now the duo have developed a platform that they hope will spark a whole new breed of entrepreneurs across the US – entrepreneurs who have the crowd behind their backs.

Why are they so confident that the time is ripe for ProFounder?

It is estimated that about 87%, or $144 billion dollars, of capital raised for new ventures is from friends and family. That’s a staggering amount of money. When you consider how chaotic and challenging it can be to get money from friends and family, it starts to become apparent that a platform like ProFounder can make a real impact. There are also millions of people on the sidelines who would love to kick in a few dollars to help a startup, yet have nobody to invest in. With an efficient, transparent platform in place, the odds of a promising new company raising funds increases exponentially.

If you’re an entrepreneur, what do you need to get onto the ProFounder platform?

Go to ProFounder’s page for Entrepreneur and follow the steps. Basically, all you need to do is create a legally compliant pitch and you can begin rounding up investors right away. You have the option to do either a public or private raise. To do a private raise, it is essentially the same thing as asking friends and family for money, and therefore anyone who has a substantial, pre-existing relationship (legal speak) with you may buy an equity stake in the company. A public raise, on the other hand, is open to any investor around the world. The kicker, however, is that public investors don’t get shares in the company, only a percentage of the revenues up to their original investment (the profits go to a charity of your choice). If you are doing a public raise, there is a $1,000 flat fee to use the platform, while if you do a private raise, there is no upfront fee, only a 5% commission if you are successful in raising capital.

If you’re thinking about using ProFounder, there are already examples to inspire your confidence in the power of the platform. Despite only being launched a couple of months ago, ProFounder has already helped four companies successfully get financed: Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha, Prosperity Candle, Bucket Feet and Proud Mary. I’m guessing that there will be many more to come in the future.

Overall, ProFounder is helping inspire a whole new generation of businesses that never could have got off the ground previously. The company has already gained a lot of momentum coming out of the gates and it won’t be long before the word really gets out. In fact, one of the founders indicated that they will be doing their second fundraising round using the ProFounder platform in the near future, meaning that you and I could have an opportunity to invest in the future of startup financing – here’s to hoping for the ProFounder IPO.


+ Building Blocks for the New-Era Business
+ Finance 2.0 – Wall Street Meets the Web

Crowdfunding Strategy – Summary


Trends and Research – Summary


PLAN – the Business Model

Oh the joys of the holiday season: Christmas music, snow, decorations, old movies and our favorite, chocolate. Over the years, the selection of chocolate has skyrocketed, making the thrill of buying/receiving some even that much more of an adventure. But if you’re lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a chocolate bar from Chocri this season, you’ll have the satisfaction of indulging in a unique combination of ingredients that, in all likelihood, nobody else has ever experienced.

Chocri, the company, has a lot of the same feel good elements as the product they produce. What started off small and simple is a now the catalyst for a new trend in the chocolate market, mass-customization. By simply logging on to the company’s North American website, you can create personalized chocolate bars with up to five toppings from a list of 21 fruits, 20 spices, 20 nuts, 21 confections, 20 decors, 19 grains and 13 holiday toppings, all of which can be built on one of 4 different types of chocolates. If selection makes you squeamish, this process may not be for you.

The idea for Chocri came in April 2008 when German University student Franz Duge was in a pinch to find a gift for his girlfriend’s birthday. The only thing that came to his mind was chocolate, so he used his and business partner Michael Bruck’s chocolate fountain to melt some chocolate, which he topped off with a few gummy bears and some trail mix.

The duo thought they might be on to something, so they spent a few months doing some planning before launching in September 2008. They built momentum right out of the gates, as they had so many orders within a month that they needed friends and family to help out on the production line — this is truly unique in the startup world; usually you go asking friends and family for money, not help filling orders. Even with the reinforcements, the company couldn’t keep up with demand, as they sold out for Christmas and had to stop taking orders online.

The story gets even sweeter the deeper you dig.

In 2009, Chocri moved into a larger production facility that allowed it to triple its production capacity. Midway through the year they enlisted the services of Carmen Magar, to run the company, who according to Pretty Young Professional, is a bold and intelligent young lady. The German twenty-something, who earned her MBA in Chicago, rejected a job in one of the big-four consulting firms and took a leap of faith as CEO of Chocri. Unfortunately for customers, her addition didn’t do anything to slow sales, and the company ran out of chocolate again at Christmas.

In January 2010, the company launched in the US to much fanfare. Their story was picked up by some of the hottest media hubs on the web, giving sales another kick. They were forced to move again in June to a bigger production facility to keep up with the demand. Luckily for us, the Great White North was not forgotten, as they launched in Canada in July 2010.

The real melt-in-your-mouth moment for the company came in September, when Chocri announced that Ritter, a global chocolate maker that produces 75 million bars a month, had bought thirty percent of the company for a low seven-figure amount. According to the founders, the deal was a meeting of “like-minded people,” which can only mean good things for the future of this company.

Overall, the Chocri story is one that won’t leave a bitter taste in your mouth. It may inspire you enough to veer away from the traditional Pot of Gold chocolates and venture into the realm of customized chocolate creations. I got a little creative with my own set of Chocri creations last year and it was a really fun experience, so give it a shot!


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Sometimes the best place to find inspiration for innovation is in the third world. Despite the tough times, a pervasive spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity work together in third-world countries to help overcome major challenges. In this month’s version of Businesses with Bang!, we look at M-Pesa, an innovative mobile money transfer system developed in the heart of Kenya.

Perhaps synergy is one of the most cliché words used in business, but anyone who looks at the M-Pesa story would be hard pressed to find a better way to describe it. Started as a pliot project in 2003, a group of partners from countries around the world came together to change the face of commerce in Kenya.

In Kenya, the word Pesa stands for money, while the M represents mobile. Back in 2003, a Vodafone executive identified a challenge Kenyans faced; money was not mobile, it couldn’t be transferred efficiently from one person to another. As a company that thrived on building high-tech solutions for communication problems, Vodafone realized that this project was the opposite; they needed to build a communication solution using low-tech devices. To get the project off the ground, both Vodafone and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) kicked in capital from the Financial Challenge Deepening Fund.

Once the funding was in place, Vodafone partnered with Safaricom, Kenya’s leading mobile service provider, Faulu, a local microfinance institution (MFI), and the Commercial Bank of Africa, to set the project in motion. After negotiating a series of hurdles, a six-month trial period was launched using a group of 450 Faulu customers in October 2005; it was very successful. Vodafone was convinced enough to commit its resources to full-scale commercialization of the project in 2006. On September 13, 2007, Safaricom and Vodafone announced the official launch of M-Pesa in the Kenyan marketplace.

M-Pesa is a money transfer service facilitated by mobile phones. Clients with an M-Pesa account can transfer money to anyone in Kenya via SMS. No bank account or Safaricom account are required to register an M-Pesa account, users simply deposit money into their M-Pesa account and they can begin using the service. If an individual receives an SMS money transfer from an M-Pesa member, then they can go withdraw it from a registered M-Pesa agent. The country has thousands of agents (approximately 17,000) scattered throughout various urban and rural centres, making the service accessible to Kenyans whether they work at a big city bank or a small farm in the country.

When the service launched, expectations were kept in check, as it was unclear how quickly the uptake of the service would be due to many potential limiting factors. Among the most prominent were the social factors, such as agents’ reluctance to hand over money based on a simple text message, and the populations general lack of understanding of how to use mobile devices. Beyond that, there were a number of logistical and infrastructure issues that needed to be managed. Despite the difficulties, Safaricom registered 20,000 users within the first month, well ahead of expectations.

Since that time, M-Pesa has gone viral, everybody’s using it. At the end of July 2010, there were almost 12 million M-Pesa users, as subscribership has grown approximately 60% year-over-year (y-o-y) since inception. The amount of money being transferred person-to-person (P2P) has increased 30% y-o-y since 2007, reaching approximately $410.1 million US in July. Safaricom has reaped the rewards for their involvement, as profits from M-Pesa account for approximately 18% of the company’s total profits and they have achieved an 80% market share in the Kenyan mobile market.

The best part of all is that Kenyans genuinely love the service and it’s re-shaping their lives. Now a rural farmer can get paid for his crop and send money to his family in the same day. M-Pesa has become so popular that it is used as a verb, as people say “M-Pesa me” for money transactions. In fact, you can’t go to a bar in Western Kenya without M-Pesa. While there are still some problems that affect the service, such as cash float and reach issues, M-Pesa has made a profound and lasting impact on Kenyan society.

The success didn’t stop in Kenya. In September, M-Pesa was launched in South Africa through the mobile operator Vodacom, which is round three for the service after it was successfully deployed in Tanzania.

Overall, the M-Pesa story has proved that social and economic rewards are not mutually exclusive in business. Projects like this one must overcome significant challenges to achieve success, but the rewards are exponential. It took strong leadership from Vodafone and a committed effort from all partners to get M-Pesa off the ground. Hopefully we can now use this model to develop similar initiatives in places all around the world. With innovation lagging in Canada, it’s time to open our eyes to projects like M-Pesa and imagine the possibilities, because they’re endless.

Read about our collaborative process and see how Lumos can you make your mark in the world of business.


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A lot of the information from this blog post came from an article in the October issue of Wired. The following is a condensed version of the full story; it’s worth it to read the whole thing.

There is perhaps no company that has experienced the bumps on the road that come with building a new venture better than Tesla Motors, the company trying to reinvent the auto industry with its high-performance electric vehicles. When you look at the company’s roadmap to reach its current position, you realize those bumps are actually big potholes. Despite it all, they have persevered thanks to the ballsy maneuvering of the founder and CEO, Elon Musk, who has positioned this high-octane start-up to make the combustion engine a thing of the past.

Tesla was founded in 2004 by Mr. Musk, the former co-founder of PayPal. After he cashed out his interest in the PayPal fortune, which equated to over $200-million according to the New York Times, he wanted to build something that would change the world. He focused his energy on three areas where he believed he could make the most impact and have the most fun: cars, rockets and energy. The result was Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City, which were all funded and built using Musk’s cash and connections.

The business plan for Tesla was a simple three-step process. First, build a high-performance electric vehicle with a large price tag. Then, roll out a luxury sedan to compete with the BMWs of the world. Finally, produce an affordable electric car for the masses.

Initially, the plan looked like it was perfectly on track. In 2007, when the economy was scorching hot and the environmental movement was in full force, people were buying both Tesla’s story and their cars. The likes of George Clooney, Leonardo Dicaprio and other stars were lining up with cash in hand to be among the first to ride around in the stylish Tesla Roadster (referred to as the Signature 100), for the cool price of $109,000.

The problem for the company came after they had taken orders for the Roadster, and Musk and his fellow investors had poured in over $100 million. They realized that they had essentially been snowballed by the car’s manufacturers; originally the car was supposed to cost $65,000 to produce, but an internal audit revealed that the cost was actually $140,000. The essence of the problem was that they had to literally ship in all the parts and assemble the cars behind the company’s showroom in California. The result: a car so problem-laden it couldn’t be sold. By mid-2007 the company was in a state of disarray, which required Musk to shake up the executive team and inject another $20 million into the company.

To get back on solid financial footing, the company changed its strategy. Their creation of a lithium-ion battery, which provided the juice to get the Roadster from 0 to 60 in less than four seconds, was a landmark achievement in the auto industry. The company knew that the major car companies, Daimler, GM and Toyota, were trying to build their own fleet of electric vehicles. To get some much needed cash, they focused on trying to sell Daimler on the benefits of their battery.

In order to convince the Daimler execs their battery was the real deal, Musk took a page out of Preston Tucker’s playbook (there are some astounding similarities between the Tucker story and Tesla’s), asking his engineering team to rebuild the Tesla engine and put it into a Smart car. With just a six-week timeframe, the engineers worked around the clock to get the job done – and the Daimler execs were impressed.

By 2008, the company appeared to be on solid footing. The design problems were worked out, production cost was $95,000 and the major players of the auto industry were warming up to the company’s achievements. Just when the company looked poised to raise a major round of capital from investors, the financial tsunami hit. Despite all its progress, the company was, again, in dire financial straits.

For both Tesla and Musk, the moment of truth came in the fall of 2008. Musk had just $20-million left of his original PayPal fortune. He knew that much more was on the line than his own financial security; the birth of an electrical car revolution, which he believed the world desperately needed, hung in the balance. Despite the dire financial picture, Musk believed the company was inches away from securing a major contract with Daimler. With it all on line, the audacious entrepreneur made the bold decision to pump in his last $20-million as well as another $20-million from other investors.

The move paid off. In 2009, the company secured a $40-million contract and $50-million investment (for 10 per cent of the company) from Daimler. Next, a $465-million dollar loan was secured with the U.S. government and later a $50-million dollar investment came from Toyota.

By mid-2009, the company found themselves on solid footing once again. To bring the company a step closer to its goal of mass production, Musk arranged to purchase a sprawling 200-acre car factory in Fremont, California, off of Toyota for a bargain price of $42-million (the factory was valued at $1-billion pre-financial crisis). In 2010, the company went public on the Nasdaq and raised another $238-million.

Despite the turnaround, it is obvious that the road ahead for Tesla will include more than a few hills to climb. But no matter what happens, the Tesla story provides enough inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs around the world to make it all worthwhile. Every entrepreneur will have to dig deep and find another gear at some point during his or her journey, but it’s all worth it in the long run when you’re building something that has the potential to electrify the world. Literally.

Elon Musk’s story is PayPal and Tesla, what’s yours? Read about our collaborative process or contact joel at lumosforbusiness dot com to see how Lumos For Business can help you shape your story.


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Market forces are shifting in every industry around the world as competition intensifies and consumers look for better options. One industry that seems to be beginning to blossom in the North American market is the mobile payment industry and a California-based company, Bling Nation, is first to bloom. The company lets you pay for purchases with the wave of your cellphone, in what could be the start of mobile commerce in the Western World.

Using a cellphone to make purchases is nothing new in the global village. In fact, there is already a term for it, m-commerce (mobile commerce). People in Asian markets have been using their phones as Visa cards for years, yet the adoption into North American and European markets has lagged for numerous reasons. Cultural, technological and logistical differences are the main reasons that m-commerce has not yet made its way into mainstream Western culture, but that could all change in the near future.

Bling Nation, which was founded in 2007, has created what they call ‘tap and pay’ transactions. Their mobile payment process works like this:

  • Users sign up at their local bank or credit union and receive a payment sticker for their mobile phone
  • Users attach a sticker (a Bling Tag) to the back of their mobile phone and subscribe to the service through Bling Nation
  • Users then go to their favorite local stores – merchants at these locations have a device called a “Blinger”
  • When users are ready to make a purchase the merchant enters the total along with the buyer’s mobile phone number into the system. The buyer then taps or hovers their phone over the Blinger. Once the sensor on the Blinger reads the sticker, the transaction is processed and the buyer receives a text message confirming the transaction
  • The transaction is not processed like a debit or credit transaction. The bank simply acknowledges that the transaction is processed and settles it with them at the end of the night

The value to the user is simply convenience and novelty. To the merchant, the value is lower transaction fees (about half of regular fees) and transaction tracking. The banks and credit unions are happy because these transactions bring in great business for them.

To pull the whole idea off, Bling has employed a very unique and compelling strategy. Instead of going after big banks and large chains, they have targeted local banks and merchants in what can best be described as a community-based approach. The great part of this strategy is that it encourages the growth of the local economy, as Bling users can receive discounts, loyalty rewards and other offers simply by subscribing to the service.

Another unique aspect of their strategy is to go for a low-tech solution rather than something really high-tech. They use a technology called Near Field Communication (NFC), a technology that uses an RFID chip embedded in the Bling Tag to validate transactions with the Blinger. NFC technology has a range of about 10 centimeters. The technology itself was unveiled by Sony in 2004 and its first commercial application was in a cellphone by Nokia in 2007.

Overall, Bling Nation has their work cut out for them, but they have a lot of support behind them. They had raised about as $33 million dollars as of October 2009, which will hopefully gives them enough time to penetrate communities around the US. No matter what happens though, it looks like mobile payments will no longer be something we can only dream of.


+ Business Model Breakdown: Crowdfunding
+ Strategy Sessions

Crowdfunding Strategy – Summary


Trends and Research – Summary


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Recently, the number of sites popping up to take advantage of the crowd-sourcing boom has skyrocketed. The breadth and reach of the Internet is enabling crowd-sourcing startups to reach critical mass in a short period of time and get the necessary involvement to sustain their business model. Finance is one market in particular where crowd sourcing is changing the dynamics of the market. One company, Kickstarter, is taking advantage of the crowd-sourcing boom to fund something a little different, creativity.

Kickstarter, a US company based out of New York, was launched in September 2009 by a group of three who wanted to bring the magic of micro-finance to the creative community. It is branded as a “A New Way to Fund & Follow Creativity,” as it allows anyone around the world to chip in some cash (one dollar minimum) to help get a creative project off the ground.

The mechanism for Kickstarter is simple:

Creative types with a project or idea that needs funding (within the established guidelines) can post a project on the site with a required funding level and a timeline to reach that level (from 1 to 90 days). Included within the proposal is a video, description of the project and numerous rewards (non-monetary) that will be delivered to the participants who fund the idea. The process is either an all or nothing deal – either the project gets funded or it doesn’t, there is no partial funding.

Any participants on the site who are wooed by the promise of the project can pledge money towards it. The pledge is essentially a donation, and will only be collected from the participant if the project reaches the necessary funding threshold. There are many incentives for participants to pledge money, other than a warm feeling inside: participants receive unique rewards depending on how much money they donate and in some cases can receive tax write-offs for their donations.

Companies, or individuals, must be based on out of the US to apply for funding, but funders can participate from anywhere in the world. Companies who appear on the website are selected by the Kickstarter employees (for now), who receive about 200 new applications per day.

Thanks to a company like Kickstarter, hundreds and eventually thousands of creative projects have been given the boost of confidence, and capital, that they need. The general categories of projects include film, dance, music, photography, writing, art and technology. For example, if you wanted to help Tom Tom Magazine, a magazine about female drummers, launch its fourth issue, then with a few clicks of your mouse and keyboard you could be pledging cash to the project.

In under a year, Kickstarter has become part of the next generation wave of micro-finance by leveraging the power of the web to crowd source investing, or donating in this case. As they expand their reach beyond US borders, look for a creative project to pop up near you!


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In a new blog series, we profile unique companies that have created a compelling buzz through innovative techniques. These are the types of companies that energize customers, staff and everyone involved.

Simon (Sinek) say it is all about the why – why do you do what you do?

One company that seems to have the answer to this question is Johnny Cupcakes. If you are not aware of who Johnny Cupcakes is, you might think that the company sells, well, cupcakes.

The intriguing part about Johnny Cupcakes is that the company is much larger than what it sells, which is t-shirts and other basic clothing garments designed by founder Johnny Earl. Johnny began selling his self-made designs out of a suitcase while touring with his band in 2002. His designs were so well received that he had to quit the gig and begin touring full-time.

So what makes Johnny Cupcakes so special?

If you look at the t-shirt designs, your first reaction might very well be like mine: cool, but nothing too special. Beyond that, all Johnny Cupcakes stores are designed to look like a bakery, giving the store a unique flavor. Interesting, but not enough to understand the Johnny Cupcakes phenomenon.

In order to really understand what makes Johnny Cupcakes so adored by its customers, you have to look beneath the surface.

Look at the founder Johnny. He strove to create much more than a t-shirt company. In an interview with Limite Magazine, he talks about his idol, Walt Disney.

“Walt Disney as a person, he created more than a brand, but a whole experience.”

This insight reveals exactly what Johnny strives to do – not create t-shirts, or a brand, but a whole experience for the customer.

Johnny believes in doing what you love. His insights are in such high demand that he has embarked on a wildly popular lecture series across the U.S. He is a self-trained entrepreneur who turned Johnny Cupcakes into the multi-million-dollar brand it is today – and he does it with the help of his mom.

If you watch this video, you will see the adornment of the fans. Many stood contently in line overnight to buy Johnny Cupcakes gear. It is clear from the look on their faces that they are buying much more than a t-shirt. When they put on one of his t-shirts each morning they become inspired to go out and chase their own dreams. How’s that for creating an experience.

As for the why part of the equation, it appears to me that Johnny does it because he loves it and he wants to inspire others to do what they love too.

Sounds great. Next time I get a little hungry for inspiration, it might be time to get myself a Cupcake.

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+ The Collab Economy – Inspiration from Spain
+ The Crowdfunding Ecosystem – Evolved


Crowdfunding Strategy – Summary


Building Blocks – PLAN – the Business Model


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