Editor’s note: Startland News is continuing its segment to highlight area entrepreneurs’ efforts to accelerate their businesses. If you or your startup is running a crowdfunding campaign, let us know by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Today’s featured entrepreneur, Sarah Shipley, is also board chairwoman of the Kansas City Startup Foundation, the parent organization of Startland News.
Who are you?
What’s your product?
After having my communications company for more than 10 years, I’m launching something new. It’s a book — “Off Kilta Matilda and the Prime Number Club” — aimed at getting girls excited about math at an early age. The project starts with a series of books and the Off Kilta Matilda doll. I’d like build out this project to a snazzy website, teaching guides, the Prime Number Club and educational video shorts.
The book series is aimed at young girls, kindergarten through second grade. It teaches prime numbers and prime number theory in a fun way, using the spots on the back of Off Kilta Matilda’s wings. Her spots are not symmetrical and kids make fun of her. She starts the Prime Number Club with her mom and learns to love her spots and be a leader at math.
When I was researching this project, I realized girls start to deviate from math at kindergarten and can be deeply swayed away from math by second grade. My focus is to counter this, in a fun way and get girls excited about math.
How much do you hope to raise?
What do you plan to use the funds for?
I plan to use the funds to print and distribute the first set of books and illustrate the second book. If I hit a stretch goal, I’ll start making the educational videos.
How are you differentiating your campaign?
I’m sending a lot of emails, I’m leaving card in coffee shops. I’m also using social media and all of my networks. I bought some Facebook and Twitter ads and I am doing a 1 Million Cups pitch in November. I’m speaking to groups like the Girl Scouts and other STEM groups. Most of all, I’m engaging my networks.
Is there anything quirky with your campaign?
I took the prototype book and doll to Indianapolis and Washington, DC,and did “flat Stanley” photo shoots. I used those photos to drive traffic to the website. Off Kilta visited NASA, the Smithsonian, and many of the monuments in DC. Matilda will do many photo shoots in KC, as well.
Any advice on crowdfunding?
Spend a long time planning the campaign. Do all the work you can upfront. It will make the campaign more manageable. Get people excited about the campaign early and often. Don’t forget to ask for what you want! Also, remember to thank everyone for their donations.