Neutrog: equity crowdfunding case study
Neutrog successfully closed the largest equity crowd funding raise to date in 2022. Although their $3million raise was oversubscribed, Neutrog had alternate goals they set out to achieve. Neutrog undertook this offer to allow their passionate followers and supporters to become part of their story and share in their growth. In addition to owning shares, Neutrog offered an exciting range of shareholder benefits on offer for Garden Clubs, Garden Club members, as well as individual investors.
Neutrog increased brand awareness and customer loyalty through marketing their equity crowdfunding campaign. Whilst Neutrog was thrilled to reach their maximum target, they were equally as excited to have brought onboard 784 new investors and brand ambassadors.
“We have been looking at crowdfunding since 2013, and reached out to Nick Motteram (OnMarket) in 2017. We stumbled across community-based marketing years ago, and we started sponsoring Garden Clubs and found it worked incredibly well in regards to growing our business. We expanded this process to Garden Clubs nation-wide, and began handing out 'show-bags' of our products. We found, over those years, that our sales grew directly in proportion to our database. So, we very much understood the power of advocacy, so crowdfunding just makes sense. I always knew it would be a great opportunity to invite our supporters on board as investors. If I may say, the whole raise went exactly how I hoped and planned it would go.” - Angus Irwin
Click here to view Neutrog's equity crowdfunding raise coverage in Business News Australia.
Neutrog and OnMarket's Partnership
"I found working with OnMarket fantastic. We were able to be open and transparent with our needs and agenda, and that enabled Neutrog and OnMarket to attack campaign initiatives from different angles whilst working in harmony. We communicated frequently and well throughout the campaign, and I only have a positive feeling towards the partnership." - Angus Irwin
Q&A with Angus Irwin on equity crowdfunding.
What do you think of equity crowdfunding as a capital raising method?
In the early days, back in 2013 when I first learnt of crowdfunding, a lot of my friends and colleagues questioned my interest in crowdfunding, but I always believed it would take us where we wanted to be - and it has. Now we have 784 investors who who will be supporters of ours. The opportunity and power that comes with that is ginormous. In my opinion, the key power of an equity crowdfunding campaign, and I suppose the key to a successful campaign, is to connect your raise to a larger business goal or advocacy model. If you can connect your campaign to other business goals, and map out how the two will work together, then equity crowdfunding may be the ideal capital raising method.
What companies or founders would you recommend equity crowdfunding to?
It depends on what you raise means for your business - for us, our raise was very emotional. That’s what our whole brand is about. We wanted to invite loyal customers and supporters to share in Neutrog's success and growth. So, we were genuine with our messages and took the time to think out our strategy - we accurately portrayed the emotional connection between the brand, raise, and crowd, and that made people want to join our journey.
I believe that, when crowdfunding, you have to build a personal or emotional connection with the crowd. You need your investors to want to join you. To do that, they will need to connect to you and your brand - and love what your business does. So, who is equity crowdfunding for? Anyone who can satisfy that approach.
How did you personalise your rewards and strategy?
Essentially we offered two styles of rewards, one specific to Garden Clubs and Garden Club members, and one specific to individual investors. We understood we had two main target audiences and wanted to personalise the rewards for each. Although they slightly differed, the rewards mainly consisted of product credits, product trials, and access to our online store.
I suppose our rewards strategy wasn't conjured out of no where. We’ve utilised community based growth since inception. We often partnered with Garden Clubs and consumers to get them to test our products and provide us with feedback - so our rewards strategy remained consistent with our growth strategy. What we now have is a great opportunity to do this online - and with 785 new investors, we’ve got a passionate consumer base that we can engage and grow with.
It’s a two way street - you give to your investors and to your consumers, and they give back. That’s the essence of our community-based brand and a core value at Neutrog. When creating your rewards strategy, you should consider how to best execute a two-way reward system (business to shareholder and vice versa).
Do you have any tips for founders who are looking to raise?
Tip #1: Look at what you want to achieve, your end goal, and work back from there. Figure out what are your top goals, and what you would classify as a ‘successful raise’ and then map out all the steps you need to take to achieve that. For example, say it’s increasing your customer base, you would need to figure out who your target audience is, what the best platform is to reach them, what kind of message would resonate with them, and how you can target them.
Tip #2: No matter what your end goal is, and the action steps required to achieve it, make sure your entire campaign aligns with your brand - in terms of language, communications, visuals, and tone. Also, make sure you’re genuine. If you're not genuine, the market will see through you.
Who is Neutrog?
Neutrog Limited is an Australian biological fertiliser company, developing and manufacturing innovative products used by leading agricultural and horticultural producers, landmark gardens and home users. From small beginnings based at their 100% owned 20ha facility at Kanmantoo, 60kms southeast of Adelaide, Neutrog has evolved to become a leading supplier of biological fertilisers to local and export markets.
Neutrog was born from the fact that chicken manure - an organic product that contains a diverse range of nutrients - has the capacity to be far superior to traditional chemical fertilisers. Neutrog embarked on a mission to use science to turn chicken manure into a nutrient-rich, microbiologically diverse fertiliser and create the optimal growing environment for plants.
Neutrog have grown into a premium brand with a high level of market visibility and trust. In FY21 Neutrog achieved revenues of $17.0m, a 14% compound annual growth rate increase from FY17, highlighting their consistent, year-on-year growth since being founded in 1988. Now recognised as a leading producer of optimum performing biological and organic fertilisers, Neutrog is ready to embark on their next phase of growth.
“Having been around for nearly 35 years, Neutrog is hardly an overnight success story. Rather, we have taken the long road, in a very planned and methodical manner, carefully building and positioning the premium Neutrog brand to create a high level of market visibility and trust.” - Angus Irwin, Founder of Neutrog