How to Crowdfund a Startup and Help Australian Farmers

Startup Story: Aussie Food To You

We are delighted that our newest crowdfunding campaign is not only an Aussie business startup, but is working to help Aussie farmers.

Every week we get asked the question, “How can reward based crowdfunding can help my business startup or expand?’

We gave an example recently about how Meg Solly from Brisbane used ReadyFundGo to get her She Skills startup off the ground.

Meg’s business is teaching women skills such as vehicle maintenance to wood work. Meg had a great business plan, knew exactly which courses she wanted to run, had people lined up to teach the courses and had found a venue. However, as is often the case, the venue required a down payment to secure the dates for the workshops. She did not want to use all her funds on the down payment for the venue, only to find that she had not been able to get the take-up she needed. So in came ReadyFundGo ……

By using reward based crowdfunding Meg’s was able to pre-sell vouchers for her courses to raise the funds in advance before putting the down payment on her venue. Star startup entrepreneur Meg reached her campaign target, got her workshop, and is going from strength to strength.

Crowdfunding a Startup: A Farmer’s Market App

Now our latest campaign Aussie Food to You is another story of how an innovative Australian startup is using crowdfunding to help get their business of the ground.

Aussie Food to You is the brainchild of Beyond Business Connections Managing Director, Peter Askew. Peter grew up in Benalla, in the heart of Victoria’s farming region.

Aussie Food to You is developing a new farmer’s market app with ambitions to shake up the $300 million weekly Australian meat retail market.

Their app and transaction platform will enable Australian farmers to sell directly to the end customer.  This means cutting out the numerous middle-men in the supply chain who traditionally absorb the majority of profits whilst bearing little of the risk. The idea is to enable farmers and farming cooperatives to become retail entrepreneurs of their high-grade produce and receive a fair share of the profit for the risk they take.

aussie food to you farmers crowdfunding campaign

Driving profits back to Australian farmers…

In Australia we often hear the complaint from farmers that they are being underpaid for their product, both domestically and internationally. In the case of international trade, merchant shipping company “middle men” are taking the lion’s share of the profits. Domestically, they find their profits are consumed by the duopoly of major supermarket chains.

It is well recognised that farmers – the key stakeholders – bear most of the financial risk, and receiving a comparatively low return for this risk. The objective of Aussie Food to You is to create a digital solution which will drive profits back to the farmers, and hence revitalise the Australian agricultural industry.


startup australian farms direct to you

Still very much a “country boy at heart”, Peter is very aware that in rural Australia farming is the lifeblood of the community. Over the course of his lifetime, during regular visits to the area where he grew up in rural Victoria, Peter has observed an alarming demise:

“Wandering down the main street I see the number of shops that are vacant, the football clubs and the netball clubs dying, and those small farming communities collapse. I have seen the demise of their social fabric because the wealth is not there any more. The farmers’ wealth used to keep the country towns going, providing jobs and supporting local industry and country sports clubs, and kids had a future on their parents’ farms. Youth are no longer staying on the farms because they can’t make a living – the cost of running farms is so high that there is just not the return on investment. Farmers are living in poverty, and their kids are leaving town to survive.

In contrast, there has been extraordinary growth in the major cities, plus an internationally huge demand for our clean and reliably farmed products. It’s about supply and demand. Both are there – we are just linking them together without the financial constraints that currently exist in the supply chain. My motivation is about seeing more profits stay with the people who are taking the risk – balancing the supply chain back to the risk-takers.”

Peter’s critical goal at Aussie Food to You is to retain as much of the profit at the farm gate. His team believe that they have developed the capability with their technological solution. They see Aussie Food To You as a facilitator to bring this new market together, learning from the successes of the sharing economy.

Happy kids feeding cows on a farm. Little girl and school age boy feed cow on a country field in summer. Farmer children play with animals. Child and animal friendship. Family fun in the countryside.

Their Canberra based startup will be an aggregator of many co-ops and products, and act as a facilitator enabling each co-op to own their product and brand. Whilst their technology is a brand in itself, much like Uber, their innovation is providing a medium for the co-ops to build their business, and create their own profile and their own brand.

The business model is one that will appeal to primary producers, and build upon the notions of the collaborative marketplace, establishing a robust supply and demand market structure that will be a catalyst for change in the farming industry.

How crowdfunding can help this exciting new startup

Aussie Food to You decided that round one of their capital raising would be a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding is a valid and achievable source of capital for their agribusiness project, with additional benefits when compared to traditional finance.

One fundamental benefit of using the crowdfunding model to raise initial finance for this project is that the campaign backers or investors will also serve as a primary fanbase of future customers. These early adopters can help shape the consumer end of the app and their backing will in turn help develop credibility in the product and help to grow the market.

There is little risk to the campaign creator raising the funds as it is free to register and tell their story via the platform. They do need to make sure that their message is clear, have a promotion strategy, and deliver what they promise to backers and keep their backers in the loop. Whilst crowdfunding platforms take a cut of the funds raised to fund their platform development, it is a low-cost financing option compared to other means of financing.

Although there are different types of crowdfunding ranging from equity, to donation, to debt based and to rewards, Aussie Food to You chose a reward based model. Reward based crowdfunding is very flexible and campaign creators have the flexibility to be extremely creative in the development of the rewards they provide. An investor, or “campaign backer” are often called pledgers. They pledge a specific amount in return for a selected reward or incentive.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-3-08-21-pm The Aussie Food to You campaign offers rewards from the value of $1 to $1,000.  Here are a few rewards to choose from:

  • Contribute $25 to support the project and you’ll be kept updated on the project’s progress. You’ll also get a personal thank you from the farmers and your name added to founding member list on website and the app.
  • Pledge $50 and you will be one of the first shoppers on the new app and receive a $50 voucher to spend on the range of fresh meats.
  • Choose the $100 meat pack – perfect for the closet chef, singles and couples to whip up culinary delights – and receive $100 receive retail value of meat of your choice direct from the farm.
  • There are then rewards at the $200, $350, $500, $750 and $1,000 levels ranging from BBQ Master Packs, Feed the Family Packs, a Connoisseur’s Pack, a Come Buy with Me Pack and the corporate Pantry Pack perfect for office functions.

Peter Askew,  Aussie Food to You founder, hopes that Australians country wide will support shopping for a fair go for Aussie farmers. Peter has said that:

“My personal motivation is to give back to my community, and to see our rural towns thrive again. This whole concept is simply about supply and demand. What our app and digital market place will achieve is to link them together without the financial constraints that currently exist in the traditional, supermarket-controlled supply chain. Our ultimate objective is to ensure that more of the profits go back to the farmers and country communities.”

The app will initially operate in the Australian market, selling premium beef and lamb, with plans to diversify the product range to include other produce, and to expand into strong the Asian market in the near future.

Australian Farmer Using Digital Tablet

Jill Storey, CEO at ReadyFundGo, said:

“Our team at ReadyFundGo are delighted to be supporting the Aussie Food to You campaign – not only is this campaign helping an Aussie business get off the ground but it is also supporting farmers and rural communities – a double plus for us.”

Click here to support the Aussie Food to You campaign.

Do you have your own business startup idea or are looking to grow your existing business, environmental or community project? The ReadyFundGo team would love to hear from you. If you’re ready to get your campaign draft going, start your campaign here.

To read more articles like this and hear more about crowdfunding, join our newsletter below.

If you'd like to see more of our essential tips for managing and promoting your crowdfunding project, you can grab our Guide To Crowdfunding here.

Share this post

Related stories

About ReadyFundGo

ReadyFundGo is a crowdfunding platform and community of social entrepreneurs, business owners, change makers and innovators who have a great idea they want to get off the ground or grow. If you are interested in the world of innovation and ideas, or want to find strategies for raising funds for your own project or expansion, ReadyFundGo can help. To begin your own crowdfunding campaign, start your draft here.