Finding startup funding can be a significant barrier for any hopeful founder. We asked Seedocracy founder Jason Lortie about building an online seed funding platform that allows entrepreneurs to compete for funding through virtual pitch competitions. Jason is a professor of entrepreneurship and has always had an issue with the ways in which pitch competitions were run. He chose Bubble because the no-code platform offers a full-stack solution that allows for quick iterations and testing.

Tell us about your app and what it does.

Seedocracy is the only online seed funding platform that allows entrepreneurs to compete for startup funds via virtual pitch competitions. Entrepreneurs compete by uploading video pitches of their startup ideas to the platform. Frenzies (what Seedocracy calls our pitch competitions) are then where entrepreneurs can enter their ideas to compete.

There are multiple types of frenzies that the platform can currently facilitate. In the most basic form, fully public frenzies allow entrepreneurs to solicit votes with the idea of getting the most votes being named the winner and taking the seed funding prizes for that competition. However, frenzy organizers can also choose to create frenzies in which only certain people can enter or vote (based on email addresses or passwords) or in which judges can evaluate pitches with custom-built scorecards.

A view of recent pitch competitions hosted on Seedocracy
A view of recent pitch competitions hosted on Seedocracy.

How does your app work?

There are three types of users that Seedocracy has been built for. All three go through a typical sign-up process. From there, entrepreneurs can upload a video pitch to the platform (or provide a YouTube link) and provide information about their pitch. They can then choose a frenzy to enter their pitch to compete. Entrepreneurs get a link to their pitch that they can then market to solicit as many votes as possible if the Frenzy they entered is based on public voting. If they do win their frenzy, they can then cash out their seed money to a bank account of their choice (we use Stripe to handle these withdrawals).

Entrepreneurs’ ideas that were submitted to a recent virtual pitch competition on Seedocracy
Entrepreneurs’ ideas that were submitted to a recent virtual pitch competition on Seedocracy.

Frenzy organizers have the ability to create a frenzy on their own and process a payment for the seed funding they are going to provide. During the creation process, they can choose the dates, seed funding amounts, descriptions, etc. to fully customize their frenzy. After they are done, a link is generated for their specific frenzy to start getting interested from entrepreneurs (whether it is a public competition or maybe one they are limiting to their organization).

Finally, voters/judges are individuals that sign-up to help determine winners. After completing sign-up they can view the pitches in a frenzy and choose to vote for their favorite or fill out the judging scorecard (depending on the type of frenzy).

A recent winning idea in a virtual pitch competition on Seedocracy
A recent winning idea in a virtual pitch competition on Seedocracy.

Tell us a little about your background and how you discovered no-code tools like Bubble.

I am a professor of entrepreneurship and always had an issue with the existing ways in which pitch competitions were run. I did not see entrepreneurs often pitching ideas that they could actually raise support for, so the idea of making it so the winner was determined by who could actually market their idea and show early customer support. We got feedback early from universities that they would also like to run virtual pitch competitions with their own judges once Covid made it so that in-person competitions were not possible. So we very quickly built out those features as well.

I originally discovered Bubble when my School of Entrepreneurship considered the idea of offering a class in visual programming for our entrepreneurship undergraduate students. I wanted to learn the software myself, so Seedocracy was my first attempt at an app with it. We now offer our class to our students, and they absolutely love it!

Why did you build your app on Bubble?

Outside of trying the learn the software myself, I absolutely loved the idea of Bubble as a full-stack solution that allows for quick iterations and testing. That is very much at the heart of the Lean Launch methodology that we teach to our students.

What have been your milestones or successes so far?

So far we have secured multiple customers that are recurring in the sense that they continue to host frenzies with us. Our biggest competitions have been with total payouts of around $4,000 to $5,000. We have also been able to test different types of competitions in terms of large public ones open to any entries and voters to private ones limited to specific universities using their own judges. Keying in on the market of universities looking to transition existing competitions to an online format or taking portions of existing competitions to a “public choice” type of model has been a big success for us so far.

What are your next steps or future plans for your app?

At this point, we have built out a lot of the main features we always wanted, but there are plans for improvements going forward. Right now we will continue with our business development in the university vertical while also trying to reach out to other businesses that might want to sponsor their own competition for a creative marketing channel.

Many of our frenzies end up with 30+ entrepreneurs and 10,000+ page views with total rewards as small as a few thousand dollars. We see this as a cool way for a company looking to target entrepreneurs or college students as potential customers to get their brand in front of those types of people while also helping entrepreneurs at the same time.

Seedocracy Logo
Seedocracy Logo

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About Bubble

Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more. Over 500,000 users are currently building and launching businesses on Bubble - many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, and even raise $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs that are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.

Do you want your app featured by Bubble? Reach out to us and tell us about your app. In addition to this series, we sometimes select our best apps to showcase on our website.