BoostR Success Story – Shaunio Radio


Priscilla Cherry owns online radio station Shaunio Radio. When Priscilla first inherited the station, she decided to dedicate it to independent artists, in order to honour one of her family members who had passed away. She saw it as an opportunity to share his music around the world, and to share the music of other independent artists.
So she decided to use the Alberta BoostR platform to crowdfund and re-launch the station. And she knew marketing would be key to running a successful crowdfunding campaign: she created videos for social media, cold-called strangers, you name it. And it worked! Here are her thoughts on how her marketing efforts made the difference.

Q: What different marketing channels did you use?
Priscilla: Obviously social media, because in our information age, it’s huge. At the beginning, I was really consistent in keeping people updated and engaged, and posted almost every day. But for me, I know people get bored fast and they like to be entertained. So besides social media and the videos, I thought, well, let me go back to traditional marketing. And I actually went business to business and was telling them about my campaign. So, like actually going door to door saying, ‘hi, nice to meet you!’ kind of thing. And actually cold calling as well. So I took it back a couple years and added some traditional marketing.

Q: Did you find that cold calling people was a successful strategy? Were people interested?
Priscilla: A little bit. You call people out of the blue and you give your little pitch, but they have no idea who you are. So they’re like, ‘what does this girl want?’ So I did that first, and then people would say ‘oh, I’ll get back to you’ or, ‘oh, send me an e-mail.’ If anything, I’d get a share of my video, a post, a retweet or something, but not necessarily any contributions. So that’s when I was like, for my personality, I have to be talking to people face to face, person to person. And that ended up being perfect, I got contributions when I went door to door.
Q: I was actually wondering how that went after seeing your video! (To see Priscilla’s video on door to door marketing, click here)
Priscilla: Yeah, it was interesting. Some people…you just don’t know what to expect. And honestly, some people, how I re-enacted it was not even an exaggeration. Literally people are just like, ‘no not interested,’ and I hadn’t even said anything yet! But other people, who are entrepreneurs themselves, they respect the hustle kind of thing, so they support right back, which is really nice. It’s hit or miss, definitely.

Q: What kind of marketing advice would you have for someone who’s just trying to start a campaign?
Priscilla: Honestly, I would just suggest completely stepping outside of the box. If it feels uncomfortable, then do it, because you never know what kind of results you’re going to get. Like door to door marketing. Just try different things outside of your box. Like I said, I never did that before, but I tried it, and it worked! So you never know what kind of results you’re going to get.

BoostR Question: Would you rather be a dragon, or own a dragon?
Priscilla: I think I’d rather be a dragon? Is this a trick question? Because dragons are cool, I want to blow fire out of my mouth, that’s pretty cool. And not scare people, but a dragon is a fierce thing. And if I am a dragon then I own myself, so there you go!

BoostR Success Story – FREDsense

FREDsense Technologies lands coveted spot at Silicon Valley startup accelerator

A startup in Calgary is making waves—by testing waves.

FREDsense Technologies is a new Alberta-based business that engineers organisms to test water quality. The founders came up with a “bio-sensor” technology to engineer bacteria and put them in containers, much like USB sticks, which can be submerged into water to test for a wide variety of contaminants.

This technology will be useful for the oil and gas industry, as well as the agriculture industry. Its founders are all students or recent alumni of the University of Calgary.

Because this new technology has the potential to have a big impact, FREDsense was one of seven startups selected from a pool of 400 applicants from around the world to participate in an accelerator program for new businesses in Mountain View, California.

Co-founders David Lloyd, Chief Operating Officer, and Emily Hicks, CEO, are at Singularity University, which runs this program specifically for startups coming up with disruptive technology to solve big world problems.

“It’s pretty fantastic. I’m still realizing that we’re here, this is happening, right in the heart of Silicon Valley,” Lloyd said.

“We’re suffering from huge impostor syndrome. Looking around seeing the talent and huge ideas in other teams is unreal. We’re also the only Canadians here, and Emily is the only woman here.”

Lloyd and Hicks participated in ATB’s Alberta BoostR program, a rewards-based crowdfunding platform, to help raise some money for their startup. After they did this, they realized they needed to accelerate even more. That’s where the program they’re now participating in came in.

“It’s a 10 week experience, you get $100,000 for your company, and every week we’re learning rapidly how to run our business better. We’re being introduced to potential customers and investors. It’s been an awesome experience,” Lloyd said.

Alberta BoostR was important for Lloyd and Hicks because they needed a way to fund prototypes of their product. They needed to show potential customers and investors that their technology really works, and Alberta BoostR helped to provide them with some funding to do that.

“When I heard about Alberta BoostR, I thought it was an incredibly cool way we could have impact and get people involved in what we’re doing at the same time. We decided to give it a go, even though in some ways, we’re really not the ideal fit when it came to rewards-based crowd funding,” Lloyd said.

“It’s one of the big reasons we’re here today in California and having this opportunity.”

Since Alberta BoostR is a rewards-based crowdfunding initiative, Lloyd and Hicks had to come up with, well, rewards. They ended up giving out water bottles, Lloyd said, since it fit the theme of “testing what’s in your water.” They also gave out t-shirts and hoodies. Finally, they gave away experiences. First, the put on a biology art day, where kids painted pictures with bacteria that glowed in the dark. Then they hosted a “be a synthetic biologist for a day” experience.

Once they’re back in Alberta, Lloyd and Hicks plan to really get the business up and running by getting their products to market.

“And we want to do that in Alberta. We believe in the province and the people and the amazing talents we have, and that we can make an impact from there on the rest of the world,” Lloyd said.

The company’s first product, FRED (Field-Ready Electrochemical Detector), uses a genetically modified bacteria to detect multiple water-borne contaminants in two simple steps. A cartridge holding the ‘sensing’ bacteria and chemicals needed to run the test is placed in a detector with the water being tested. After one to two minutes the detector sends the results via Wi-Fi, 3G, or USB connection, to your device.

Video Source:

BoostR Success Story – Vin Gogh Paint and Sip Studio


Brenda Mahoney of Vin Gogh Paint and Sip Studio recently launched a successful crowdfunding campaign using Alberta BoostR, and her rewards really set her apart. Vin Gogh provides an experience that combines three of life’s greatest passions: art, wine and food. She used her ability to offer these experiences in a customized way to attract different types of potential contributors to her campaign. Here are some of her ideas on how to create rewards that work:

  1. Choose rewards that relate to your business

Not every business has a cut and dry product that they can offer to supporters as a reward. But this doesn’t mean they should stray outside of their industry for rewards. It can be confusing for supporters when the rewards don’t match what the business does. Part of the reason to do a crowdfunding campaign is to make people aware of who you are and what you do. So offering rewards that don’t relate to your business at all can end up detracting from the brand image you want to communicate. If you do want to include rewards from outside your industry, try including them as a bonus. For example, Vin Gogh could offer a paint session with a box of chocolates to vamp up the reward. But offering only a box of chocolates wouldn’t make any sense.

  1. Think of rewards as a great marketing opportunity

Each person who shows interest in contributing to your business through a crowdfunding campaign is a potential customer, which is why tying rewards to your products and services is so important. Moreover, every aspect of your crowdfunding campaign – from your video and images to the tone and voice of your written text – is a great opportunity for people to experience your brand. Use the lingo you use within your business, showcase the goods or services you provide, and create experiences surrounding your business. Each reward purchased is an opportunity to get someone through the doors of your business and turn them into a returning customer or at the very least, a brand advocate who will spread the word to their networks about your business.

  1. Don’t be afraid to change the amount of each reward available

Some rewards end up being really popular, while others end up not being popular at all. It’s sometimes hard to predict this, so changing the numbers of each reward available throughout isn’t a bad strategy. This also helps keep certain reward levels alive. If you only have large reward levels left available, someone looking to contribute a smaller amount may no longer chose to contribute. Being responsive to what rewards the crowd likes/doesn’t like is key to success in crowdfunding. You want to offer engaging rewards and introducing new rewards is a great way to add more excitement around your campaign.

Setting rewards for a crowdfunding campaign can be tricky. Picking the right reward for each contribution level takes time and thought to make sure you’re providing a reward that your supporters want to be a part of. When you design your crowdfunding campaign rewards, ask yourself this: would people want to go out of their way to buy this reward? Is it enticing enough for them to open up their wallet and purchase it now?

Passionate pitches: BoostR Stage comes to YEG


Excerpt: Small business owners delivered their pitches to a crowd, hoping to win the judges favour (and $1,000).

Adventure buses. Pantomime theatre. Ramen noodles. Moonshine. Wellness treatments. Under what magical roof might all these disparate ideas come together?

Under the roof of the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, as a matter of fact, for the very first BoostR Stage YEG event, on Tuesday, September 15. It was put on by Alberta BoostR, ATB’s rewards-based crowdfunding platform.

BoostR Stage is an event where small business owners and entrepreneurs from Alberta can pitch their business plans to an expert panel of judges, as well as a captive audience of engaged community members. The judges hear short, timed pitches, ask some questions, and ultimately choose one business to “boost” with capital. A $1,000 prize goes to help the winning business expand.

But even better, audience members are equipped with voting rights too, in the form of dollars. Audience members are given credits to award their favourite pitch through, good for that evening only.

On Tuesday night, five businesses took the stage: Gateway Wellness Center, Adventure Bus, Wyvern Players, Red Cup Distillery, and Prairie Noodle Shop. Each pitch was unique, reflecting the personality and passion of the business owners.

But the pitches did carry a common theme: they all contained ideas to make our collective community better. Whether it was through offering a cold glass of moonshine or suggesting an outing with your kids to see live, interactive theatre, all the business owners at Tuesday night’s event pitched Alberta-focused innovations.

In the end, the winner of the $1,000 boost from the judges was Red Cup Distillery, rewarded for a passionate and authentic pitch highlighting a compelling business model.

The next BoostR Stage pitch event will be in Calgary on September 30. For more information on that event, to learn more about these businesses, and to boost an Alberta business yourself, visit

Alberta BoostR Success Story -Remuda


For Tony McKee, founder of the Remuda Horsemanship Program, getting the word out about the good work his program does through his networks was key to his crowdfunding campaign success.

Tony runs a camp for at-risk youth that, after funding cuts, was unable to run this year. So, he took to Alberta BoostR to crowdfund to keep the camp going and to continue changing the lives of the children who participate in the camp each year.

Tony asked the families of kids who were planning to come to the camp, or who had had great experiences at the camp in the past, to help spread the word about the camp’s purpose and its crowdfunding campaign through their personal networks. By leveraging their networks, he increased the number of people he reached with his campaign multiple times over.

As a small business, getting the word out about your crowdfunding campaign is one of the most important success factors. There is a common misconception that once the crowdfunding page is launched, people are just waiting to open your page and contribute funds.

But in reality, to get people to your campaign page, you have to really put the work in to make them aware of your business and its goals. One of the best ways to do this is to leverage your networks of family, friends and clients, plus asking those people to leverage their networks. Ask everyone you know to boost your campaign early on, and to share your campaign with their own personal and professional networks. Having the support of your friends and family right from the get-go is critical because it’ll allow you to launch your campaign with some traction in funding, which will give your campaign credibility in the minds of those who don’t know you or your business. For instance, if your friends and family help you get 20% funded within the first few days of your campaign launch, that traction will be more convincing to someone who checks out your campaign page and thinks about also supporting your business because it’s already been 20% funded in just a few days. Thus, leveraging the support of your network will enable you to reach out to those outside your network, creating a snowball effect.

Reaching out to the people who know your business isn’t just a great way to expand your network and bring more traffic to your campaign page, it’s also a great way to promote your business. Hearing personal stories from people who have benefited from the work your business does is great marketing. These stories show that when someone contributes to your crowdfunding campaign, they aren’t just getting a reward, they’re making a difference.

BoostR Success Story – Escape Capers YYC

Eric Boudreau, the owner of Escape Capers YYC, turned to crowdfunding to supplement his traditional sources of funding for his business. What he discovered was that launching a successful crowdfunding campaign does take a lot of work!(Never heard of an escape room? Check out to see what the fuss is all about.)


Here are some of his thoughts:

First off, why crowdfund?

“For me it was a great way to do the pre sale, and kind of get some early excitement building.”

Launching a crowdfunding campaign can be a great way to start generating some early excitement surrounding your business. People who see the campaign and get invested early in your idea might even go as far as to pre order new items or tickets. You also get the benefit of potentially reaching their personal networks as well. Whatever the product or service is, getting the word out early never hurts!

How important are the rewards you offer the crowd?

“I wanted to give people a deal so they feel like they’re getting special treatment for supporting me, and then a better deal the more tickets they buy or the more they donate.”

Potential donors should see the value in your rewards. First decide what your reward is going to be based around- will it be tickets, events, swag? What would your target donor value? Second, remember not all levels of donation will have the same target donor! Really pay attention to your big sponsorship level donation goals. Create a reward that a potential big sponsor, such as a corporate donor, would see value in. This will most often be different than what individual donors will value most.

What advice would you give about setting an achievable campaign goal?

“Leave yourself a little breathing room. If you think you can raise $10 000, maybe just aim for $8 000 because you don’t want to come up short.”

With how fixed crowdfunding platforms such as Alberta BoostR or Kickstarter are set up, you only get your funds if the goal is met or surpassed. And just because you set your goal for $8 000, it doesn’t mean you won’t still reach $10 000. This is because when the crowd gets excited- projects can really take off. Eric’s campaign met its target, and then exceeded it by 10%!

How do you get the word out about your campaign?

“Ask your closest friends and family to donate and to share.”

Anyone you think might be interested, ask them to check out your campaign and share it amongst their own network. The more people that you can ensure see it, the more likely you’ll reach your funding goal. And don’t be afraid to approach someone multiple times. If they were interested, follow up with them!

It’s a lot of work to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign. But for people like Eric, the doers, the thinkers, the makers, and believers, it can be done! Just do your homework, step up to the plate, and knock it out of the park. Check out what other business’s are showcasing their ideas, or launch a campaign of your own at