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Well that was a blast

Well, that was a blast!

The strategy and execution for raising the money to reclaim the distilling heritage of Donegal is one I have drawn up and refined whenever we hit a significant mile stone. It has meant for multiple fundraising rounds and a really strong group of backers but we always wanted to go down the crowd funding route – not least because it brings a fantastic troupe of ambassadors and supporters who might otherwise not had the chance to own a piece of their own distillery.

We were going to launch the Crowdfund in the spring of 2020 but halted everything and took stock when Covid-19 arrived. We agonised through the first lockdown about the timing, the likelihood of success, the investment mood, but we bit the bullet and went for it in the autumn.

I was given this dashboard to play with for the duration. Having loaded up a rough draft of our pitch, put all our due diligence documents in order, and obtained a certain understanding of what I was supposed to be doing, I thought we were nearly set to go. However It quickly became apparent that we were under-resourced, so we roped in Rory Steel and the crew from W Communications, who were already running our press and in record time we had a more refined pitch, a stunning video of James D and Moira marching around the distillery and, thanks to Rae our Bígí Linn manager, an operational campaign office (virtual because of COVID).

Once we had contacted all our followers, stakeholders, friends and families, the counter on the Crowdcube platform was started, and we were off. The dashboard was SO addictive, the centre piece being a graph of running performance, minute by minute – and it  just kept on rising! Questions on the discussion board were flooding in, there was a clamour for document downloads, relentlessly from different time zones, it just kept going all night.

For thirty-odd days we were glued to this thing.

The first target was smashed, then the second, and then the third….

For me, the best part was answering the questions on the discussion board. We were committed to being transparent and I felt that we were gaining our “voice” and it was getting stronger as we went along. We already had a voice of sorts, particularly through James D’s ubiquitous social media habit, but, outside of the Board, we were not used to being closely questioned about what we were doing, giving answers, and then being told that the answers were ok, that people liked what we were and how we did things.

Sometimes you feel like you are on the right track, but when the feedback loop is accompanied by hard-earned investor cash from over 1,100 people, your confidence kind of grows.

This is an enormous thank you to everyone who had anything to do with this experience. We were, together, one of Europe’s most successful crowd funds in 2020 – right in the middle of Covid-19. Amazing!

“The Other” James