Springleap, a South African design crowdsourcing startup, will attend MentorCamp Halifax on Sept. 24, guaranteeing that at least one international company will attend the one-day event.
Permjot Valia, the CEO of MentorCamp, wants to include overseas startups among the mix of Atlantic Canadian companies to increase the international flavor of the event and enhance the exchange of ideas and experience. MentorCamp assembles 10 startups and exposes them to 30 mentors who have come from around the world. The mentors will select two winners, which will each receive a $25,000 investment from MentorCamp.
“We’re coming because the ability to meet new people in our space is absolutely critical to us, and also to work with great mentors,” said Springleap CEO Eran Eyal in an interview.
In attracting Cape Town-based Springleap, Valia has found a crowdsourcing design firm that differentiates itself from competitors such as 99design. Like others, it allows clients to hold contests among thousands of artists to see who can produce the best design, but Eyal said Springleap exceeds its competitors in focusing on quality, community, and what he calls “embeddability”.
First off, Eyal said Springleap aims to avoid mediocrity in its designs by setting a floor of at least $1,000 for the prize of each design contest. That attracts a higher quality of designers, and ensures that the contests are held by leading brands and advertising agencies.
Once the design contest is launched, it doesn’t simply take place on the Springleap website. The company’s embeddability application allows the client to host the contest on any platform it chooses – such as its own website, its facebook page, another site, or several simultaneously. This means the client receives feedback and engagement on the designs from its own community of followers.
What’s more, the designers bring their own networks into the contests, and these people become more familiar with the client’s product and brand, said Eyal.
Once the contest has been decided, Springleap can also produce retail-quality products for its clients and sells them via online “microshops”, helping clients monetize their promotional merchandise. For example, if a large company decides on a new logo through a Springleap auction, it can immediately contract third parties to produce T-shirts or cell-phone cases with the logo printed on them.
Eyal said the company is working on new functions for its site, and he looks forward to discussing them with the mentors at MentorCamp. For now, however, he’s keeping them close to his chest.
Eyal and his fellow founder have sunk about $400,000 into the company so far and raised a bit of angel capital. The company, which is profitable some months, is interested in a convertible note or equity financing worth between $250,000 and $750,000.
MentorCamp last year hosted another overseas crowdsourcing company, the British video company Wooshii. CEO Fergus Dyer-Smith was so impressed with Halifax that he ended up establishing the company’s North American office and development centre in the city.