Crowdfunding is an amazing resource for startups and people who have great ideas. It allows you to get funding without going into debt, or risking your livelihood like you do with banks and other traditional sources of funding. Crowdfunding does have its limitations, but if you ask me it is the best first option to get the funding you need.
Most of you know that in addition to me being a radio talk show host, I own a company … Agamemnon Self-Defense. It started off as a company selling self-defense and surveillance products. Many of them were hidden or disguised to allow women and college students to have protection without getting in trouble. When automatic knives became legal in Indiana I started selling them. They quickly became my primary business, and just like that … I was a knife retailer.
I’m also an aspiring knife maker, and I am still learning the trade. I had a few designs laying around that I eventually hoped to put into production, or make myself one day.
Several months ago I was approached by a police officer in search of a fixed blade knife. Officers have specific needs, and he was having a problem finding one that he could carry on duty that would get the job done. I tweaked one of my designs to suit the needs he outlined, and the Centurion was born. Suddenly, I was a knife manufacturer. At least, I hoped to be. Amazing how things change so fast in less than two years.
I knew a manufacturer that could make my knife with the quality I needed, and for the price officers were telling me they were willing to pay. I generated interest in the law enforcement community and among hunters, and had secured retail businesses and distributors to stock my knife. The problem … a minimum order that was going to cost me about $20,000. YIKES! I’m a single income household with a family to feed. I don’t have $20,000 laying around. Nor do I want to go into debt, and further burden my family financially. Crowdfunding was clearly my best option with investors as a secondary method of funding.
I hit all of the big crowdfunding websites that you see online, or hear about on TV. Time and time again, I was denied my request to raise funds for my knife design. The reason … it was a weapon. The 2nd Amendment has been left behind in the world of crowdfunding. Whether it is the politics of the people running the sites or the fear of liability, if you have an idea for a product that can be classified as a weapon, you don’t get to raise funds.
I was just about to give up and buy a plugin to turn my site into a crowdfunding site when I realized I’d forgotten about Indiegogo. I checked their terms and noticed that they didn’t say I couldn’t raise funds for weapons, but that I couldn’t offer the knife as a perk. A perk is when you give something to someone for donating to your campaign (i.e. give $10 get a free sticker, etc.).
I sent Indiegogo an inquiry about not offering the knife itself, but a voucher for the contributor to redeem on my site after the knife is produced. To my surprise they gladly accepted. I can now crowdfund my knife to put into production. Of course, I still have to actually raise the $20,000 first, but it was a win for those of us in 2nd amendment industries.
If you’d like to support the Centurion, and help us put it into production, you can visit the Indiegogo campaign here. By supporting the campaign you can get perks that include morale patches, t-shirts, discounts on the knife, and the knife itself at a special reduced introductory price. If you don’t want to contribute, if you could spread the word to those you think would be interested it would be greatly appreciated.