High-IQ Vending Machines

High-IQ Vending Machines

Research, Technical Writing, Viral Marketing, Web Design & Development

The story of driving $3M in ARR, running out of runway, then launching one of the most viral and successful equity crowdfunding campaigns of 2019.

PopCom's aim is simple: bring automated retail kiosks and vending machines into the modern day. Equip them with sensors that can collect a slew of data that would make the most data-crazed e-commerce entrepreneur a fan: conversion rates, dwell metrics, crowd demographics, sentiment analysis, and cart abandons, to name a few. Finally, make the machine look and feel gorgeous.

Styled product photograph

I joined as a consultant in December 2017 and worked directly with the CEO to redefine the company's mission, write new sales copy, redesign and relaunch the website, and create a digital sales process that helped close over $3,000,000 in ARR for the company's first batch of kiosks over the course of 8 months.

Website redesign and corporate identity refresh

Right around the time when things were looking up, there was a major dispute with the company's contracted industrial engineering firm. Production came to a halt. Deposits had to be returned, and the company ran out of cash.

The company's investors did not provide follow-on funding, so I worked tirelessly with the founder to come up with a plan to save the company, and landed on an equity crowdfunding offering. I personally researched, wrote, and designed a 31-page whitepaper that covered the company's plans for the future and market opportunity.

Read the whitepaper here.

A sample of a few pages of the whitepaper

I also wrote and designed the StartEngine offering page, which you can see here. After a few months of prep, we launched the campaign. My role switched to managing the paid marketing. The crowdfund went viral – we reached over 5,000,000 Facebook and Instagram users and drove over 45,000 unique visitors to the offering page per month. The ROAS of the social ads we ran  averaged 12X. The social ads alone brought in $252,270 in investments with only a $21,030 spend. The offering was fully subscribed in just over 3 months, with a total of 2,178 investors from 13 countries and $1,070,000 in fresh capital raised. The company was saved.

Pixel data showing visitors/investments on the offering page. The number don't lie: the marketing was exceptionally effective.

Into 2021, I've continued as a consultant to the business and the company has now (as of May 2021) raised $4,000,000 in equity crowdfunding and is nearing a critical milestone of 20 machines produced per week – an achievement that would not have been possible without bringing in crowd capital. I am immensely proud of the team and cannot wait to see what's next for PopCom.

Interested in building together?

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