The Nooro team made an impressive move launching their campaign over Christmas 2020, and what a success was. They set out to raise a £100k round to fund their vision of helping ambitious minds perform at full potential with the help of CBD snack bars and smashed their target by 175%, raising over £220k from 483 investors.
We sat down with JD, Founder at Nooro, to discuss their experience with crowdfunding for CBD businesses.
Tell us about how Nooro started? Where has your vision taken you so far? And did you experience any challenges in being the first edible CBD business?
Nooro aims to help ambitious minds perform at full potential. We are a CBD (Cannabidiol) business, but our snack bars blend CBD with certain nootropics – that’s what really makes this product a game changer. It’s a complete solution for consumers that might want to experience the bio-hack food phase without feeling alienated.
“I think our strapline, ‘Snack Smarter, Think Better’, says it all.”
Our main challenge when launching the business, was that selling CBD in food or tincture wasn’t allowed yet. It wasn’t fully approved until March of this year. Besides that, there are also regulations surrounding promotion, digital advertising and major retail that we still have to navigate. CBD was still very unknown when we started, so we went to market in the traditional way; we built our way up through the wholesale supply chain until we got a spot at one of the major retailers. And then the pandemic hit. In a way it was great for us, because it forced us to switch to a digital first approach. That’s the stage we’re at now.
When you came to Seedrs, why did you decide it was the right time to raise a round?
At the time, we had built out pretty well in the wholesale department and we had decent revenue streams, but the pandemic was holding us back. Another challenge was that we weren’t very top-of-mind in terms of how people consume CBD. When people think of CBD, they first think about oils – it’s very rare to consume CBD for the first time in ingestible form. We needed a way to appeal to a customer that’s new to CBD, and that’s where Seedrs represented an opportunity for us. We could use a crowdfunding round to acquire investment and raise a community, but also to educate the market about CBD in food. We ended up being the first CBD business to do a crowdfunding round (and the first successful one!).
We’ve always viewed our raise as the first of many with Seedrs. Looking back at it, I think we could have raised more, so I’m convinced we would bring even more investment in a second round.
Did you think crowdfunding would be challenging for your type of business because no CBD business had ever done crowdfunding in the UK before?
Not really. If we didn’t believe in the business and the product, then crowdfunding could’ve been a challenge, but we firmly believe in what we bring to the market. We never thought we would fail. As we were the first CBD to do a crowdfund, we set a realistic target and then we went and hit it and then overfunded to 180%!
How did you pitch your round to your investors?
All our current investors were on board for this round. We didn’t have an “anchor investor” for our crowdfunding round, but we have a cap table of 40 investors, 25% of whom were committed to investing again.
Talk us through what running a campaign was like? Some say it’s very challenging and hard work to publicise the campaign and to manage investor questions/interactions.
Running a campaign is a lot of work. I definitely underestimated how hands-on it would be. You constantly need to be on top of it and it’s hard to get your head out of the space of your round. Our investor forum was bombarded with questions and we definitely had to educate the Seedrs investors on the topic of CBD which was time consuming, but ultimnately worthwhile. We offered two perks for investors; one 50% discount and an offer to join our Taste Test Team, in which we would ask people’s opinion about new flavours. From our 500 investors, 220 people signed up for the Taste Test, which was a huge uptake and showed the power of engagement from the round.
What were some of the aspects of crowdfunding you weren’t aware of that turned out to be essential for a successful round?
The bigger your community, the more money you’ll raise as you can tap into that community as well. So our aim for our next round would definitely be to grow our community. But in the end, crowdfunding does what it says it is going to do. Although you need to take into account the amount of money you’ll spend on promoting your raise, as this is a key aspect for success and we forgot to calculate that in.
What were some of the highlights of your campaign?
The main highlight was definitely launching our campaign over Christmas and even raising investment on New Years Eve. The rationale behind launching over Christmas was that there were other businesses already lined up to launch in January and we were afraid that we would’ve gotten lost among them. We took momentum in a time that no one else was raising and we managed to carry that through which was really great to see.
Do you feel your business stood out to investors because it was the first of its kind to raise on our platform?
Yes and no, we did a lot of promotion and did a lot of marketing. Some things worked, others didn’t. We went live over Christmas, which would’ve been a crazy thing to do any other year, but because of the Covid pandemic, it was actually a good thing to do because everybody was unable to have the normal Christmas.
What have the proceeds from the crowdfunding round helped you achieve so far, and what plans do you have in the pipeline for the upcoming months?
We’ll relaunch our website and a few new flavours. After our campaign, we put a lot of effort into building out our digital affiliates. At the moment Nooro cannot be found on Amazon yet, but it will be shortly! We’ve also set up partnerships with smaller platforms that are active in the healthy food, vegan, braincare, mental health space and will use the proceeds of this round to grow our teams across Marketing, PR and Customer Service.
Aside from the funds, what have been the long term benefits of your crowdfunding campaign?
One of the main goals for our crowdfunding round was to build a community of people who would help us feed the product into other places. In addition to this new community of brand advocates, we also got great product and development feedback which was hugely helpful from a consumer research point of view.
What’s the long term vision for your community?
The plan is to become the biggest edible CBD business in Europe within 5 years, with a focus on cognitive performance as we think that’s the area where CBD can have the most benefit to people.
We plan to keep our community up to date on new product developments and format releases because we want them to be part of the team and the story – they’ll be our beta testers. We’ve set up a communications flow where our investors can easily engage with us and we even offer basic rewards if they do. I hope that for any future raises they’ll appreciate this engagement, see the added value they’ve given to the company and join us for the next phase of the Nooro journey.
Would you ever consider another Seedrs crowdfunding round?
We are actively considering doing another round soon. Although this round might be in tandem with a private placement. There is a lot of excitement surrounding CBD at the moment, so we want to take this opportunity to bring on board a few anchor investors who are willing to match whatever we raise on Seedrs. We want to turbocharge growth, and our next crowdfunding round will help us do that.
To find out more about Nooro, visit their campaign page.