Pascal Press: Crowdfunding a New Coffee Revolution
(7 pages of text)
A student pursuing his master’s degree in thermal engineering at Western University, in London, Ontario, was a self-proclaimed coffee snob. In his search to find a high-quality coffee he could make and take to go, he discovered no coffee maker, on the market, suited his exact needs. He began applying his knowledge of thermal fluids engineering in designing his own travel-friendly all-in-one coffee press, which he called the Pascal Press. After developing a functional prototype he thought there may be commercial value to his product design, and sought out assistance from a neighbouring business school professor to help him realize the business potential of his innovative design.Despite securing various streams of financial support, he had not been able to raise the full $60,000 he needed. One recommendation he had received early in the process was to secure his desired funding through Kickstarter—a dedicated web platform designed to bridge the funding gap of many start-up ventures by pre-selling products to a large pool of interested early adopters. In 2017, he set out to discover whether a crowdfunding option would work for his fledgling business.
The case is suitable for undergraduate- to graduate-level students in marketing, entrepreneurship, crowdfunding, and strategy courses. After completing the case and assignment questions, students should be able to do the following:
- Outline the value of crowdfunding to fill gaps in traditional start-up venture financing.
- Analyze the factors that make crowdfunding successful, and explain how these can be properly implemented.
- Explain how problems in daily life can inspire new product innovations.
- Describe the role crowdfunding plays in the marketplace, including in equity offerings.
Canada, Small, 2015
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