Space-Lottery Meets The Crowd
In ‘X Meets The Crowd’ I talk with entrepreneurs in the middle of their crowdfunding campaign. What’s the story behind their project? What are they looking for in an investor? Why do they think they stand out and what do they offer investors? Find out everything you want to know here, on our HelpTheCrowd Blog.
Ever wondered how our beautiful little planet would look like from outer space, but didn’t think you’d be able to actually go there? Same here. Things might be about to change though. Entrepreneur (and Philosopher) Jasper Versteege, Founder of the Space-Lottery, wants to make going into space a possibility for everyone and was happy to tell me all about it.
HTC. Why going into space, is this a childhood dream of yours?
Jasper Versteege. Did I use to play with Star Wars toys when I was little you mean? Not really no, but I did dream about going into space one day and I’ve always said ‘I am going to walk on the moon during my lifetime. So when I’m seventy, if need be, I’ll sell everything I have and I’m off to do so.’
HTC. First CrowdLottery and now Space-Lottery, what’s the story with you and lotteries?
JV. I studied philosophy and it’s my dream to become a philanthropist – making money to do good. Ideally I’d like to do this on a global level. So I started to think about ways to make money while at the same time doing something good, which is basically what lotteries do (at least here in the Netherlands). That thought stuck with me and suddenly I realised, we live in a world where we share everything I mean, you can play games with people on the other side of the world, and yet there is the lottery world which remains very nationally orientated. No one seems to know exactly how they work. This is where I saw room for improvement and that’s how I came up with the concept for the CrowdLottery; higher chances, lower costs and the highest pay out rate so we can still collect money for charity.
I’ve been walking around with the idea for the Space-Lottery since the beginning but in fact it is a new business model. The timing is good too, you see people like Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, making moves in the space industry for example. I think there’s a lot about to happen in that industry in the near future.
HTC. How do you plan to market your business?
JV. There are a lot of communities around space and space related topics. It turns out that 50% of all people dream about going into space one day. That is a pretty big group. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy of course, but there are definitely more than enough communities and groups we can approach online. Within those groups we can create a buzz via affiliated and word of mouth marketing.
HTC. Was there a particular reason you chose to run your campaign on FundedByMe?
JV. I’ve used FundedByMe the first time I crowdfunded, for the CrowdLottery. Back then, I really dived into all the different platforms, there is quite a lot of them. I think it’s a shame by the way that the crowdfunding market is very nationally orientated as well, it’s something I can’t get my head around. In my opinion crowdfunding is something that should easily be set up internationally.
Anyway, I was checking out the several platforms and FundedByMe instantly liked the idea, plus they allowed my company, even though it has to do with games of chance. Another thing I appreciated was that FundedByMe wants to be a true international platform, something I feel strongly about myself as well.
HTC. What does the competitive landscape look like?
JV. At the moment that is non existing for Space-Lottery.com. If this works out, that will quickly change.
Regarding Crowdlottery.com; the classic lotteries out there have a completely different business model. Our model is not about maximising profit but about maximising opportunities, which is why the big players won’t start doing the same any time soon. They would need to change the way they think and operate completely. Once our model starts working well, they might begin to think of doing things the way we do them, but we’ll always have the first mover advantage.
HTC. What do you reckon will be the biggest game changer for your business?
JV. Succes. Right now, no one really goes into space. If within the next three years XCOR and Virgin Galactic will start going into space commercially, I think the Space-Lottery could be the big game changer. Companies like XCOR and Virgin Galactic are depending on the ticket sales in order to keep developing. So once ‘normal people’ can dream about buying such a ticket and afford to get one, the whole market will become a lot bigger. This means that those companies can raise money more easily and continue their developments. I think this is important because both of the before mentioned businesses have not yet started to actually go into space commercially. It is after all the rocket industry we’re talking about, more steps are necessary before it becomes normal for human beings to go into space. I hope we can play a big part in this with the Space-Lottery.
HTC. You’re expecting a 9.3% dividend return in three years?
JV. Yes, this is the expected dividend if we pay out 50% of the realised profit to the investors. This might not seem much for a high risk investment but if we manage to reach our targets we’ll also have a very large capital reserve (as risk premium) which might multiply the profit drastically in the longer term. On top of that there is the value of the company. If this works, the company will of course be worth a lot more as well.
HTC. How was the guidance you got from FundedByMe while preparing for your campaign?
JV. I’ve been very warmly received and as I said, they’ve got a very international vision themselves. They want to have an international approach of the market and we were their first Maltese company. I like the fact that they’re in Singapore and Spain too, it really feels like a worldwide crowd so to speak.
HTC. Would you ever consider selling your company?
JV. No. I’ve mentioned this on the website as well. I don’t aim for a quick sell or to be taken over by another company. I want to set up a lifelong business and to create my future income from it and to stay involved. I just want to build a fantastic company and make the world a better place – I know, that’s my philosopher side. When I completed my bachelor I felt like I had two choices; I could continue my studies and get my Masters degree, or I could go out into the world and try to actually change it instead of only doing so on paper and in my thoughts (although that’s important too of course). Then I came up with this lottery idea and I thought let’s just go for it. So far, I’m still on the path towards my biggest dream, so that’s cool.
HTC. Anything else you’d like to share?
JV. I always say ‘Power to the Crowd.’ That’s my usual last line. More specifically regarding the Space-Lottery I would say ‘Everyone come on board, space is closer than we think.’ Together we can make a difference!