Yesterday on twitter, I discussed what I look for when assessing ocean-themed crowdfunding projects. Before I fund a crowdfunding campaign, I do quite a bit of due diligence, looking at the past success of the creators, the soundness of the project, and whether or not the goals, rewards, and timelines are reasonable. My criteria are:
1. Is it sound, reasonable, and informed by science?
2. Is there a clear goal, timeline, and budget; and are they partnering with the people who have experience hitting those marks?
3. Do some of the parties involved have a successful record with other crowdfunding projects and experience delivering on rewards.
It seems a shame to go through all that work and not pass it on to the rest of Team Ocean. Rather than keep it to myself (or, more likely, just tweet it out), once a month I’ll highlight my favorite ocean crowdfunding campaign. These campaigns are vetted in accordance with the above criteria, are likely to succeed, and are likely to result in a net positive for the ocean. Unsurprisingly, this month it’s the campaign that inspired this post:
Can we turn discarded fishing nets into something meaningful? This project is both simple and elegant. the ocean is filled with discarded fishing nets, most of which have decades left on their material usefulness. Nets are durable and malleable, so why not collect and reform these nets into something of value.
Is it sound, reasonable, and informed by science? Yes. Bureo has already demonstrated that recycled nets can be formed into usable products, discarded nets are a real problem and this is a reasonable solution which can have a measurable, if potentially only small and localized, impact. Plus, they have a vision for end-to-end recycling. Once your sunglasses reach the end of their useful life, you can send them back to the company to have them re-recycled.
Is there a clear goal, timeline, and budget; and are they partnering with the people who have experience hitting those marks? Yes. The budget makes sense, the timeline is reasonable, the goal is achievable. The team on the ground has access to discarded nets in large volumes and Bureo developed the process by which discarded nets are converted into commercial material. They have partnered with a sunglasses designer that can make an appealing product for the consumer.
Do some of the parties involved have a successful record with other crowdfunding projects and experience delivering on rewards? Yes. Bureo launched last year on a campaign to turn discarded nets into skateboard decks. They ran a successful campaign and were able to ship their promised rewards with only a minor delay. They have the experience necessary to fulfill their promises within their own timeline.
The Sea-Factor. I have a soft spot for sunglasses-themed crowdfunding. I like that this team is based in Chile and partnering with other Chilean groups. I like they they have a clearly defined product that appears to be appealing and commercially viable, priced for the right market–it’s not “yay ocean” kitsch, its something I can seen people buying that also happens to be good for the ocean. I like that they’ve finalized the design and production before launching the kickstarter, it’s not a crap shoot–we know what we’ll get and we know they can make it. I really like that, rather than a generic “ocean trash” project, they have specific targets. I like they they have plans for the entire life-cycle of the product.
And, of course, I like that it helps get discarded fishing nets out of the ocean.