Bettershared: Marketplace and art-as-a-service commerce offering
Swakara Atwell-Bennett launched BetterShared, a global artmarketplace for emerging artists from the African diaspora, in 2016. Since then, Bettershared has scaled massively, currently featuring more than 200 artists to showcase, rent, and sell their work throughout the world.
Bettershared's funding is bootstrapped, so they have had to grow in unconventional ways. Bettershared has had to be creative, highlighting its business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplace and business-to-business (B2B) art-as-a-service offerings via community engagement and scrappy marketing campaigns. Even with a noticeable return on marketing investment, scaling their brand has proven difficult without the budget to match their big ideas.
Asa black female entrepreneur, Swakara has faced many barriers around investment and was looking into various methods of securing funding to grow her business. Bettershared was cash flow positive, and on the way to being profitable, so the big challenge for Swakara was trying to decide where her time was most useful: gaining funding for scale or working on the fundamentals of Bettershared's business to support growth.
Our Solution: Growth Credit
Lenkie’s Growth Credit has been the ideal solution for Bettershared’s project-based marketing. Due to flexibility enabled by paying invoices through Lenkie, Bettershared is able to pitch to more companies, attend trade shows, and utilise a larger advertising spend. Swakara can keep the cash in the business to enhance her product, giving her the peace of mind and clarity to spend on growth marketing.
Swakara says that Lenkie is perfect for businesses that don’t want to give up equity in the business in order to grow. When looking for cash for a specific area of her business, Swakara considered many small business loan options but decided on Lenkie due to the flexible use of funds as well as the human element- the relationships built with the Lenkie team.
Funding longer term growth
Bettershared is looking toward the bigger picture with an expansion into the US market for their B2B offering: art as a service. Swakara is disrupting the art industry with a novel experience interwoven with content and commerce.
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