Saturday, March 23, 2013

Crowdfunding revives oldest Swiss watch factory

"Thomas Steinemann turned to crowdfunding to re-launch the Swiss watch brand DuBois et Fils when he was unable to find the equity needed. He raised CHF1.5 million ($1.57 million) in five months by selling shares via the Web.
When Steinemann bought the dormant DuBois et Fils watch factory in 2010, he was convinced that banks and investors would follow him in recapitalising the company. Founded in 1785, it is the oldest Swiss watch factory and one of the oldest Swiss watch brands.

Investor perks

As a marketing professional, who successfully introduced the American Fossil watch brand to Switzerland in 1988 despite the economic crisis, he sensed the marketing potential of crowdfunding.

“The idea of getting a lot of people involved is very powerful for a brand. It’s almost more important than finding the money,” he disclosed.

The way Steinemann built his crowdfunding campaign was to propose a low buy-in with high benefits. For as little as CHF500, individuals not only become shareholders of “the oldest watch factory”, they also acquire the right to buy a CHF9,000 watch at half price.

From CHF3,000 to CHF10,000 of share capital, the discount is 70 per cent and allows the purchase of one watch per year for several years. This category of shareholders also belongs to a Diamond Club that allows members to choose their preferred number of the 'limited editions' of the watches."
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