How Uniti utilised the power of their crowd to become the first Swedish crowdfunding unicorn

Transport, both personal and commercial, is one of the biggest contributors to climate change and the chance to prevent global warming is rapidly diminishing. This dilemma sets pressure specially on the characteristics of vehicles, because it is not realistic that people will stop driving altogether. Uniti have ambitions to not only redefine the car, but the whole car industry, in their pursuit towards a solution to this huge global challenge.

FROM OPEN INNOVATION TO REVOLUTIONIZING THE CAR

The story of Uniti is an impressive one. It all started in the University of Lund in 2015 as a open innovation research project of a small team with diverse backgrounds and eventually evolved into a startup in 2016. What united the team members is the passion to make a difference in the world and ambition to innovate. Uniti has never been afraid to tackle the big questions and they have always believed that they have what it takes to change the future. Uniti's mission, according to the founder Lewis Horne, is to revolutionize the automotive codes by redesigning a high tech electric city car. Their aim is to challenge what we see as a car, through removing the steering wheel and most of the mechanical systems. On top of that they aim to be the first sustainable car on the market.
Uniti's mission is to revolutionize the automotive codes by redesigning a high tech electric city car
Lewis Horne
founder
Uniti's core product is UNITI One, which is a 100% electric 2-seater car with fully digital cockpit, including head up display and voice commands, and same safety requirements as regular automobiles. UNITI One is designed to achieve seamless human interaction resembling more a smartphone than a car. Since environmental issues are at the core of their DNA, it will emit 75% less carbon than the mainstream electric vehicle over its life-cycle. This is made possible through state-of-the-art fully automated production and raw materials made from recyclable carbonfibre and organic composite. To be able to succeed in their car-revolution, they have designed the car production as well as the car from scratch.
UNITI One is a
100% electric
2-seater car.

CROWDFUNDING AS THE SECRET INGREDIENT FOR UNITI

In order to reinvent the car Uniti knew that they needed to first reinvent the car company. Traditional company models lack in agility and structure that supports revolutionary innovation and building the company's foundation on an engaged investor community has been their goal from the beginning. Choosing crowdfunding as the financing model was a natural step for a highly innovative company that stem from an open innovation project and it has proven its strength. Their investors have without a doubt been a key force behind their success! Uniti would not be here without their loyal and supporting investors who have believed in them from the very beginning. Their investors have evolved into ambassadors, ensuring success in pre-sales and making the almost impossible journey from Lund to a global presence possible.


Uniti's first equity crowdfunding campaign took place in October 2016 via Swedish crowdfunding platform FundedByMe and it can be stated with ease that the campaign was hugely successful. Uniti's funding campaign was described as the perfect case example by the CEO and founder of FundedByMe Daniel Daboczy.
1,200,000€ collected from
570 investors from
29 different countries
In their first crowdfunding campaign Uniti reached their funding goal in just 36 hours and eventually collected 1,200,000€ from 570 different private investors from 29 different countries from all around the globe.
UNITI got market validation of over €70 million in pre-order value

UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE CROWD

At the moment Uniti has more than 1000 investors and the numbers are growing. Communicating with them is challenging nevertheless engaging them, but Uniti has been able to create an engaged and powerful investor community with the help of CrowdWorks. Investors in crowdfunded companies usually have a different profile from regular investors, and there is also more emotional motivation behind the investment. Therefore investor communication needs to also fuel crowd investors emotional motivation in addition to the more rational investor needs. When engaged they will generate a lot of value.

Uniti's investors are the textbook example of true ambassadors, proving that to invest time in investor relations really pays off in terms of contributions and pre-orders. Uniti's investors have become the source of validation and agility they need when entering the highly competitive market. By creating visual content and through constant two-way communication, they are able to unleash the power of their crowd with more than 1000 investors backing them at all times.

Having over 1000 investors might sound intimidating, but for Uniti this is just the beginning. They have deployed the CrowdWorks investor relations platform to handle investor management efficiently, making a high investor count a benefit rather than a hassle. Uniti is especially talented in engaging their crowd and focusing their investor relations in a customised platform like CrowdWorks has enabled them to communicate and drive engagement in an effective manner. UNITI sees their investors as a true source of lasting competitive advantage and are currently running a new crowdfunding campaign offering the chance to own part of their business as well as to join the investor community.

THE ROAD TO REVEAL

In order to ensure scalability to mass production and their goal of producing a fully sustainable car, Uniti has been creating strategic partnerships with global players from different areas of innovation. In December 2017 the first prototype was ready to be revealed to the investors, press and enthusiasts and UNITI One become available for pre-order. Uniti ntroduced UNITI One to Asia in India's Auto Expo and was recognized as the top 3 electric cars showcased and broke the expedition's record of pre-orders.


In 2018 Uniti got successful market validation of over €70 million in pre-order value and announced their expand to Silverstone, UK. Uniti opened its fully digital European pilot production plant in the home of iconic British Grand Prix to be able to learn about design, engineering and production and to gain supply chain access in addition to access to the UK auto market. Through this partnership UNITI One prototype will become "production-ready, globally homologated vehicle with an increased emphasis on safety and environmental protection".
In order to reach their goal of having the first UNITI One cars on the road in 2019, Uniti opened a new financing round with the goal of £30,000,000.

CrowdWorks has been part of Uniti's journey from the start and if you want to know more about CrowdWorks and how it could help your business, sign up for a demo or read more on the website.
References:
Uniti

CrowdCube
Business Insider
BreakIt
photos: Uniti press kit
Written by Reetta Pellikka
Digital Marketer of CrowdWorks
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