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Frequently asked questions

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    Basics

    Crowdfunding is a financial model in which several people (the "crowd") jointly finance an idea or project (the "funding").

    The starter introduces his or her idea through videos, images, and text; sets the funding goal and time frame; and decides on rewards for the supporters. Anyone who wants to help make the idea a reality is free to support a project.

    What makes crowdfunding special is that supporters receive rewards - the finished product, for example - in exchange for their support. Especially important is the "all-or-nothing" principle: The starter only gets paid if the funding goal is reached—if not, the money goes back to the supporters.

    Entry fee

    • Crowdfunding: 0€
    • Crowdinvesting: 595€ 

    Voluntary commission

    Startnext is the first crowdfunding platform with a voluntary commission. After a successful campaign, each starter decides for themself how much they would like to give to support Startnext.

    Transaction fees

    If the project is successfully funded, the starter will incur a transaction fee, which will be deducted before the funds are paid out. The transaction fee is 4%.

    If the project is not successfully funded, the starter will not have to pay anything, as Startnext covers these costs. All fees include statutory value-added tax (VAT).

    Every project must first pass through a starting phase before the funding phase can begin.

    During the starting phase, the starter can kick off communication for the project, share the idea with their network, and receive feedback. Because the starter is still free to edit or rework the overall presentation of the project during this phase, this feedback can be taken into account in order to make improvements.

    A crowdfunding page can be used by corporations, foundations, funding agencies, universities, cities, and clubs to support creative projects on Startnext, give advice, curate ideas, and create contests. You can create a crowdfunding page through your user profile.

    On every project page you’ll find a "Report Abuse" button, which you can use to let us know about any violations. We will review your report as soon as possible and contact you with any questions.

    There’s a Startnext app for iPad; iPhone and Android versions are in the works.

    User profile

    You can support a project before registration - afterwards, you will receive a confirmation link from us, from which you can confirm your contribution.

    Once you have registered, you may:

    • Become a fan of a project
    • Start a project
    • Create a crowdfunding page (if you are part of an organization)
    • Read articles intended only for supporters
    • Receive the newsletter with project recommendations
    • Use the messaging system
    • Post comments on the message boards

    Be sure to check your spam folder! If you still can’t find it, you can request another activation email here.

    Click on Forgot password and we will send you a new password via email.

    If you want to change your e-mail address, please contact us through support (at) startnext.com. Be sure to use the email address with which you originally registered.

    On your profile, click "Privacy Settings" and then check "I only want my profile to be visible to registered Startnext users". Your profile will no longer show up in any search engine results.

    Note: It may take a few days before your profile is completely hidden from search engines.

    Go to "Profile settings", scroll down, and click "Delete profile." Your profile will be deleted on all platforms in the Startnext Network, and you will no longer receive messages from the site. Please note that this action cannot be undone.

    It may be that you cannot delete your profile for the following reasons: 
    • You have a project in the starting phase, funding phase, or end phase (the payout).
    • You have an active crowdfunding page.
    • You have supported a project that is still in the funding phase, and we have not yet received your payment or your payment has not yet been returned to you.

    For supporters

    Support

    After logging in, visit the project page, where you will find a button labeled "Become a fan" next to the project video. There’s also a heart icon below the video that you can click to become a fan of the project.

    As a fan, you're under no financial obligation, but it’s helpful to starters if you also offer them feedback on their idea.

    Support

    Yes. Just check "I would like to support this project privately" during the support process. Your name will still be visible to the starter, but will not be listed publicly on the project page.

    Support

    In order for starters to send you a reward, you must provide your:  

    • Name 
    • Email address 
    • Amount 
    • Choice of reward 
    • Delivery address, if specified 
    • Billing address, if specified

    Support

    The starter specifies whether they will issue invoices. During the support process, you may have the option of entering a billing address; if not, ask the starter if they can send you an invoice.

    Support

    Starters are not permitted to send donation receipts unless the project is not-for-profit, in which case they must issue a donation receipt. If you have provided your shipping address, you will receive a donation receipt from the starter if you have supported a not-for-profit project that is successfully funded.

    Donation receipts cannot be issued as rewards.

    Support

    You are receiving these messages because you are a fan of the project—if you prefer not to receive any more messages, you must end your fan status. To do so, simply visit the project page and click "I don’t like it anymore" in the fans box, which you’ll find in the right-hand column under rewards.

    Support

    To contact the starter with any questions, feedback, or requests:  

    1. Post on the wall of the project page: Messages posted here are visible to everyone. 
    2. Send an email: On the project site under the project description, click "Legal notice". There, you will find further contact information for the starter. 
    3. Send a private message via the messaging system.

    Payment

    That depends on the chosen payment method:

    • Sofort banking will be charged immediately. 
    • With advance payments, supporters are responsible for making the actual wire transfer themselves. 
    • Direct debit and credit card will be charged only once the project has reached its funding goal. Please make sure that you have sufficient funds in your account or that your credit card has not expired.

    Payment

    Your money will be returned to you.

    If you used direct debit or a credit card to support the project, please note that no money will be deducted from your account at all unless the project is funded successfully.

    Payment

    It may take 2 to 5 business days for the money to transfer into the starter’s account. Once the starter receives the money, you will appear as a supporter.

    Payment

    • Direct debit
    • Credit card
    • Sofort banking
    • Advance payment
    Notes:
    • When paying with direct debit or credit card, the contribution must be more than €5 and no greater than €1000.
    • Advance payment is not possible if there are a limited number of rewards
    • Because of transaction delays, advance payment is only possible up until 5 days before the end of the funding phase.

    Payment

    Yes, you can withdraw your support here . You may cancel anytime up until the end of the funding phase. If the funding phase has ended, the starter has already received your money, and you would still like to withdraw your support, please notify us and we will forward your withdrawal to the starter.

    Payment

    Yes. You can download an invoice from your profile by clicking on "Supports".

    Rewards

    For expected delivery times, check the reward descriptions on the project page. After the project has been successfully funded, you'll also find news about the project and information about the rewards on the project site’s blog.

    If you have questions about a reward, contact the starter through the messaging system, by email, or by posting a public message on their project’s wall.

    Rewards

    1. Visit the page of the project that you would like to support.
    2. On the right-hand column, select one or more rewards according to the price brackets and/or enter a free amount.
    3. Confirm your selection(s) by clicking "Support now", which will take you to the payment portal.
    4. Select a payment method.
    5. Decide whether you would like to support the project privately or publicly. (Note that the starter will be able to see your name if you support the project privately.)
    6. Confirm your agreement with Startnext’s terms of use and click "Support with payment liability".

    Rewards

    If the project is still in the funding phase, click the "Supports" button on your profile page or click "Support details" in the payment confirmation message that you received from us. From there, you can make any necessary changes.

    If you need to change your support details or shipping address and the funding phase has ended, contact the starter directly.

    For starters

    Process

    To begin the step-by-step creation process, click "Start your project". Once you have created a new project, you will be able to edit the project using the options in the left-hand column. Here, you can:

    • Describe the project.
    • Specify the funding goal, timeline, and rewards.
    • Add images and a pitch video.
    • Create blog posts for the project page.
    • Track your statistics.

    You will find all the information for the creation of your project here, as well as in our Starter Handbook, in which we have collected the key factors and tips for a successful campaign. Your project draft is not publicly visible until you enter the starting phase. You can change your project whenever you’d like up until the funding phase. You may create your project in German, English, or both.

    Once your project draft is ready, begin the starting phase by clicking "Change phase". You can also contact your project advisor with questions by clicking the "Contact" button through this interface.

    Process

    Yes, but only one person from the team can create the project page and become the starter, and thus the administrator and owner of the project.  

    The starter can list other team members by clicking "Team" in the interface. The names of team members are visible on the project site. Team members can also see the project draft using the project link, write blog posts, and track statistics.

    Process

    Yes. However for the internal verification we need the official data. 

    Process

    Once your project is in the starting phase, it is visible to everyone. If you would like to obtain protection for your idea, please familiarize yourself with copyright, patent, or trademark laws. For example, some inventors or developers apply for a patent to protect their idea before beginning their crowdfunding campaign.

    Process

    In the starting phase: You may cancel your project at any time. Please inform your fans about the reason for your decision.

    In the funding phase: A project can be canceled only in justified cases; contact your project advisor for more information.

    Process

    You will receive your supporters’ information if your project is successfully funded. After you have confirmed that you are ready to complete your project and have accepted the money, you will receive your supporter details.

    When you are ready to send out rewards, you can find your supporters’ data under "Supports". There, you can you export your supporters’ shipping information into an Excel list.

    Tip: To ensure that all of your supporter information is up to date and that all of the payments are valid, download the list only after all the donations have been paid out.

    Process

    If you share your project on Facebook, it is possible that incorrect data have been stored in a cache by Facebook. This happens when you share a project that hasn’t yet been activated on Startnext, or you have made changes to your project since sharing it on Facebook. If this is the case, Facebook is not able to access the correct data.  

    You can delete the incorrect information on Facebook by visiting [this link] and entering your project page’s link. You can then display or update the current information that is being shared. Please note that your project must be publicly visible on Startnext in order for this to work.

    Process

    The project widget is a preview of your project with a picture, brief description, and the current funding status. You can easily embed the widget in your own website or blog (except for WordPress). Anyone who clicks on the widget is directed to your Startnext project page.  

    You can find all the information about the widget by clicking on "Embed", which can be found on your project page below the video.

    Process

    In order for you to be able to collect funds, we are legally obligated to verify your identity and account information. The verification process takes between 7 and 14 days; be sure to begin this process as soon as possible if you would like to start a project quickly. 

    On your project page, select "Verification”; there, you must indicate whether you would like to be verified as an individual or as a corporation. A list of the documents necessary to complete the verification process will then be displayed.

    Process

    Of course!
    Through our experience with many crowdfunding projects, we have learned a lot about which presentation aspects play a role in a successful project. Below, we have collected the best ways to generate interest in your project and increase the chances that it will be successfully funded.
    Pitch Video
    • Under three minutes long
    • Starter introduces themself or their team
    • Project idea is clearly explained
    • Crowd is directly addressed
    • voids using straight-up trailers (e.g. for film projects) as pitch videos
    Rewards
    • Should be tied into the successful completion of the project (the finished product, for example)
    • Between 3 and 10 different reward options, with clear titles and images, as well as a detailed description, for each
    • Reasonable support brackets 
    Project Description
    • Concise
    • Clear, easy-to-understand text
    • Thematically unified
    • Includes a transparent presentation of the funding situation: other supporters, sponsors, etc. 
    Pictures
    • Meaningful and compelling images that capture the attention of the crowd
    • No text or logos 
    Project starter profile
    • Includes a profile picture of the starter
    • Introduces the starter with a short, well-written biography

    Process

    Every day, our team of project advisors comes across countless fascinating new projects. From these, we select a colorful assortment of projects representing all categories.

    A gripping story, an exceptional pitch video, attractive rewards, a high degree of innovation, or an idea that we believe would be particularly meaningful to our community are just a few things that catch our eye. An exemplary project presentation completes the package.

    Check out our current recommendations here !

    Funding

    The threshold is the minimum amount required to carry out the project, like a "milestone". The threshold is linked to specific conditions that are described on the project page.

    The threshold is a feature in beta that we can activate upon request. If you are interested, contact your project advisor.

    Because it makes a campaign more complicated, setting a threshold is recommended only if there is reasonable justification—for example, if the project can be carried out at different quality levels.

    Funding

    This number is the sum of all outstanding payments, and appears when supporters have used advance payment to make supports. If a payment cannot be confirmed immediately, it may take between 2 to 5 business days before it shows up in the account. Until these funds are deposited, the gray number will be displayed. 

    Note: If your project’s runtime ends and there are still outstanding payments, they will not be counted toward your funding goal. Only verified payments will be counted.

    Funding

    You will receive the money after 14 days, when you have confirmed your project. It will be paid separately by our two payment processors depending on which payment methods your supporters used:

    • Advance payment + sofort banking (Fidor Bank): The money will be paid to the account you provided during the verification process.
    • Direct debit + credit card (secupay): The money is collected from supporters only after the funding goal has been reached, and will be deposited into the account you provided during the verification process.
    Transactions fees
    The transaction fees will be deducted by the payment processors prior to payout. You will receive an invoice from Startnext for the transaction fees and your voluntary commission.
    For payment-related questions, please contact us at payment (at) startnext.com.

    Funding

    Payments made with direct debit or credit card are drawn only after the funding goal has been reached. In exceptional cases, it’s possible that the payment can’t be collected—for example, there’s not enough money in the supporter’s bank account or the credit card is no longer valid.

    How can I see if there are pending payments for my project?

    • In your supporters list, outstanding payments are also marked with an exclamation point.
    What are refunded payments?
    • We will try to collect the money again within 14 days. If it cannot be recovered, the payment will be canceled after this 14-day period.
    • To find refunded payments, filter according to "Refunded payments".

    Tip:
    If a supporter’s payment is still pending, we recommend waiting until it has been confirmed before sending them a reward.

    Funding

    Congratulations! If you have a commitment from a patron or sponsor, convince them to pay their support directly through Startnext. If for some reason that isn’t possible, discuss with your project advisor whether it’s possible to incorporate their support into your project.

    Please send the following information to projekte (at) startnext.com:

    • A short explanation of why the money cannot be paid directly
    • A signed grant approval or sponsorship agreement indicating the total payment amount
    We will look over this information and discuss with you how we can make the promotion visible within your crowdfunding project. Using the partner fields on your project page, you can display a list of your sponsors, patrons, or other partners.

    Crowdinvesting

    Crowdinvesting, also known as equity-based crowdfunding, is when someone invests in a startup or a company and thus shares in the profit. Crowdinvesting is a form of venture capital - that is, each investment comes with risk.

    Crowdinvesting is recommended for starters if the capital requirement is quite high (over €25,000), no tangible rewards arise from the project, and having a share in the profits is favorable.

    Crowdinvesting

    Cooperatives, social businesses, and startups from cultural and creative industries may use crowdinvesting, and can even combine crowdfunding with crowdinvesting. Crowdinvesting is possible only if the funding goal exceeds €25,000.  

    Startnext offers the following contract models for crowdinvesting:

    • Cooperative shares 
    • Subordinated shareholder loans  

    Interested? If you would like to incorporate crowdinvesting into your campaign, please send a one-page proposal to crowdinvesting (at) startnext.com in which you briefly describe your idea, your motivation, your team, and your networks. We will review your proposal and get back to you.

    Crowdinvesting

    The crowdinvesting setup fee is €595, which must be paid at the time of booking. The fee covers the technical setup and a plausibility check of the contracts involved, which is carried out by our lawyer.

    Crowdinvesting project starters must bring contracts that have been prepared and approved by a lawyer. (We can provide a sample contract, but it still must be adapted and approved by a lawyer.) We are happy to recommend a lawyer to make this process as cost- and time-efficient as possible. 

    The setup fee does not cover any sort of consultation. If you are interested, a consultation can be booked separately. All transaction fees, as well as Startnext’s voluntary commission policy, also apply to crowdinvesting projects.

    Messages

    On your profile, go to “Messages” and click “New Message.” Note that no attachments can be sent.  

    When you receive a new message, a red balloon icon will appear to the right side of your profile. If you have activated email notifications for new messages, you will also be notified by email.

    As a user, you can send messages to: 

    • Anyone you are following. 
    • The starters of projects you’ve supported or of which you’re a fan.   
    Note: If you would like to follow a specific user, go to their profile and click "Follow this user.”

    As a project starter, you can:
    • Write messages to all of your fans and supporters. 
    • Post messages to specific groups—for example, your project’s fans, your project’s supporters, or all the recipients of a specific reward.

    Click the "x" next to any message from the newsgroup you would like leave. The message will be moved to your archive, and you will no longer receive messages from that newsgroup.

    Once you have logged in, go to "Profile settings" on the left-hand side of your profile. There, you can set your email notification preferences for how often you’d like to be notified when you receive a new message: immediately, daily, weekly, or never.