It's a big month for Ramen, the Boulder startup community and quite possibly the entire startup ecosystem. The company, which was a LAUNCH Hackathon winner, this week announced a seed round from angels Jason Calacanis of Inside.co, Nikal Ravikant of AngelList and Matt Cutler of Cisco.
These startup heavyweights are backing Ramen because (even though it is just a few months old) it is disrupting the way software companies are made by providing a pre-order, crowdfunded campaign platform specifically made for software startups.
Ramen already made big waves earlier this month when it launched its first crowdfunded projects including:
VelocityKick, which makes it easy to create a team “Rolodex” and execute crowdfunding campaigns right out of the gate.
CraigPhone, which lets users create temporary numbers that expire after seven days to avoid spam and and pranks from Craigslist.
BeneFitApp, which is a fitness incentive platform that uses passions as a way to inspire healthy habits.
Design mockup of BeneFit's project on Ramen
In a very clever twist, Ramen’s first task was to actually crowdfund itself on its own platform. In other words, “launching the Ramen project on Ramen.” When asked about this strategic move, co-founder Ryan Angilly said, “We wanted to launch our project the way we expect other people to launch their projects later on.”
Breaking their crowdfunding goal of $15,000 by nearly 15 percent over a period of 10 days, it’s no wonder why this startup has three teams launching their projects on the Ramen platform already.
Ramen’s early traction came from the LAUNCH Hackathon in San Francisco. They came across the Hackathon by accident and it dawned on them that after the 48-hour Hackathon on Monday morning, there would be 1,600 people who just built something and then have nothing more to do. The Ramen team quickly realized that if they could give those people the crowdfunding platform, it would be a way for participants to fund the projects they were hacking over the weekend. Ramen opened their LAUNCH pitch with this statement and it went over very well with the judges, Angilly said.
Angilly said that another big part of their success has come from the Boulder startup community. Ramen’s co-founders had built up contacts over the years and many of those contacts have recently circled back with new ideas to kick off using the Ramen platform: “We probably could have built Ramen anywhere, but as far as a place to launch it -- we can’t think of anywhere better.”
In just a few short months, Ramen has entered the startup community with a strong vision of being pioneers.
“Looking at what the obvious next steps are for the Boulder startup ecosystem, Ramen is one of those ideas where we think its time has come,” Angilly said. “We are kind of a product of this community and potentially revolutionary in the way that people can use customer proof to prove their ideas, raise funding and progress.”
So what does the future hold for Ramen? Once their launched projects all hit their financial goals around May, they’ll start seeing these teams launching their own MVPs and progressing on their own. Towards June 2014, they hope to have the “behind-the-scenes” review and curation process for new project ideas sorted.
Ramen’s biggest hurdle so far has been turning away some of the ideas that are not developed enough yet or too far along, Angily said. If you want to submit a project, they are looking for full teams with well thought-out ideas to establish credibility, get those first customers, and collaborate with those customers -- the “three c’s” of Ramen.
To learn more about the projects launching this month and see the Ramen platform in action, go check out their website