LABFRESH is truly a company built on crowdfunding. With 26% of the business owned by customers it is one of the most crowdfunded fashion brands in Europe. In August 2023 they got an investment of €1.3m from their customers. How did that happen? And why? Co-founder Kasper Brandi Petersen shares the story.

How many crowdfunding campaigns have you done?

We’ve used the product launch platform Kickstarter four times. It’s a great way to test if anybody is interested in our newest innovation or if we should just kill it.

In our surveys we kept hearing from customers that they would like us to open stores. For a crowdfunding geek like me the next natural question was of course: “well would you like to help us finance it, then?” And they did.

In August 2023 we did the biggest move yet and sold 10% of LABFRESH to 817 customers for €1.3m via the crowdfunding site SEEDRS. 100% of the money goes towards growing the business because that’s the most fun thing we can imagine doing with it.

"It never really felt like a choice. It was more like a calling."

Why did you choose crowdfunding?

It never really felt like a choice. It was more like a calling. Before Lotte and I started LABFRESH I had another startup. We raised €3m in venture capital and hired 55 people in 2 years. To be honest it was pure mayhem and because of that, the quality of the product and customer experience suffered.

With LABFRESH I wanted to do things differently. We decided we would upload our idea about a stain-repellent shirt to the crowdfunding site Kickstarter and see if the world seemed interested in it. We agreed that if we couldn’t sell 1,000 shirts the first 30 days we should forget about LABFRESH and find a better idea.

How does crowdfunding match the spirit of LABFRESH?

We truly feel that LABFRESH is a community, so it only feels natural that our customers are such a big part of our journey. We want to change the world by using exciting and new technologies and we are not here to just make money. Because we are entering uncharted territory, being in close contact with our customers who wear the products every day is invaluable. Their feedback helps us move LABFRESH forward and keeps us on our toes.

What kind of responsibility do you feel towards the shareholders?

The huge kind! I want to give them a ten times return on their investment. And then I hope that in return they are willing to help us with a bunch of things. We are going to throw shareholder general meeting events, so our shareholders aren’t just names on a paper but people we actually get to meet and talk to.