Tuesday, October 19, 2010

peerbackers: A New Small Business Helps Entrepreneurs Raise Capital and Achieve the American Dream

Andrew Rachmell's life has been an adventure.  And with an ambitious lifestyle that is all about trying something new, finding inspiration in life experiences, and of course, thinking big, it’s no wonder Rachmell wound up as a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of startup company, peerbackers.

peerbackers is an online funding platform that helps entrepreneurs
achieve that sought-after American Dream.

When Rachmell met Sally Outlaw, a partner from their previous production company in the mid 90's,the two found that their experience with producing television shows transformed into an obsession with entrepreneurship.  The two went on to create other businesses only to find themselves back together recently when they each realized a need to support the entrepreneurial community in light of the economic climate.   Only a year ago, Rachmell was involved in discussions with Florida Atlantic University’s Adam Center for Entrepreneurship for the production of a TV and web series profiling successful entrepreneurs.  At the same time, Outlaw had found that the process of raising capital from angel investors or venture capitalists tend to consume precious time that could be better spent on building a businesses.  After discussing the growth of startup companies and new small businesses, Rachmell and Outlaw put their heads together and created a business to help entrepreneurs raise money through a crowdfunding model by utilizing social networking.  peerbackers was born with the goal of saving entrepreneurs significant time and reducing the awkwardness associated in asking for money from family, friends, and even angel investors. 
peerbackers is an online funding platform that allows business owners and entrepreneurs to raise capital from their “peers” in small increments in exchange for tangible rewards for those who contribute.   peerbackers can save entrepreneurs significant time in raising growth or startup capital, not to mention the awkwardness that is, at times, associated in asking for money from family, friends and one’s professional circle of contacts.   For many entrepreneurs, the amount of money being sought after does not even meet the minimum level that angel investors or VCs require.  Most entrepreneurs start their business with $25,000 or less, making peerbackers a more viable solution for this type of startup company.

Within peerbacker’s first week of business, every entrepreneur featured on the site had obtained at least one “backer”, and most had anywhere from two to four.  With the smart utilization of social media marketing, peerbackers hopes to help thousands of entrepreneurs on a yearly basis reach their own dreams of owning a business by successfully reaching their fund raising goals.  In order to prove peerbacker’s future success, the company actually utilized its crowdfunding initiative utilizing a "mock up" information site in order to raise money for the launch of the peerbackers’ website.  The company raised several thousand dollars to build the current site and became one of twelve finalists in the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge.
As a serial entrepreneur with companies such as NetViews Inc. and peerbackers under his belt, Andrew Rachmell attributes much of his startup success to the passion he has for adventure and exploration.  His many life-changing experiences, such as biking across the country at the age of 20 and hiking up Mt. Whitney through a snow storm, have led him to think “if I can do that, I can do anything.”  This is exactly how the mind of an entrepreneur works.  According to Rachmell, an entrepreneur must maintain a vision for the business, continue to accomplish one small goal after another, and be passionate, persistent and patient.  All of these attributes are instilled into peerbackers as well as Rachmell’s own entrepreneurial life.  Congratulations to Andrew Rachmell and the launch of peerbackers – an entrepreneur and a company that are here to help others Think Big!

Allison Way is a writer and videographer for Think Big Partners and bizperc, two of Kansas City's newest entrepreneurial resources.  To read more of Allison's work, please visit the Kansas City Entrepreneurship Examiner.  

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