Alpine X Inc. is a holding company with its headquarters in Virginia, whose mission is to develop family-centric active lifestyle communities and experience-based sports entertainment venues throughout the United States. In partnership with world-class engineering and development firms, the company conceives and creates one-of-a-kind recreational destination properties that integrate harmoniously with their surroundings. Through innovative use of land and architecture, collaboration with local organizations, and environmental responsibility, Alpine-X strives to create properties that are financially and environmentally sustainable.
CfPA: Can you tell us a little bit about your company? What does your company do and at what stage is it?
Jeff Hokenson: Alpine-X is developing Indoor Snowsports Resorts in major metropolitan areas across North America. Our initial target markets are Washington DC, Dallas, and Austin, and we are assessing several other potential markets as well.
CfPA: What's the market in which you see your company operating?
Jeff Hokenson: Our Headquarters is in the Washington DC area, but we will market and operate Resorts in major cities and metropolitan areas across North America.
CfPA; What makes Washington DC, Dallas, and Austin attractive markets for indoor snowsports?
Jeff Hokenson: Alpine-X plans to open Indoor Snowsports Resorts close to major metropolitan markets across North America. We started in the Washington DC area because all the co-founders were based here, this area has outstanding demographics, and Fairfax County has been a great partner for us. Dallas and Austin both have cultures that are conducive to family entertainment, active lifestyles, and increasing participation in snowsports.
CfPA: Your company completed a regulated investment crowdfunding campaign. Can you tell us some info about the crowd-raise?
Jim Calder: We conducted a Reg CF equity crowdfunding raise that ran from September 2021 - March 2022. We raised approximately $1.4 million from more than 1,500 individual investors located in 46 states and many countries around the world. In terms of both raising capital and showcasing our brand and overall development plan to a wide audience, we consider the crowdfund to be extremely successful.
CfPA: What made you decide to pursue investment crowdfunding?
Jeff Hokenson: We viewed crowdfunding as an opportunity to offer part of our company to a broader, and highly-engaged group of investors. Also, we value the inputs and feedback from our 1,500 investors and want them to feel as though they are a part of our brand, company, and mission.
CfPA: Do you feel there's anything unique about the snowsports industry that lends itself to success in crowdfunding?
Jeff Hokenson: Many of our investors in the Crowdfund are avid snowsports fans and participants from around the world. We believe that the Alpine-X offering was appealing because the company can create an opportunity to make snowsports more accessible, inclusive, and potentially grow the sport. Having Bode Miller as part of our team also drove interest in our mission.
CfPA: On which platform did you raise?
Jeff Hokenson: Republic
CfPA: Can you speak to your experience raising on that platform? What sort of advice would you give to other issuers considering that specific platform?
Brad Ryan and Jim Calder: Our overall result of the crowdfund, in terms of raising capital and brand/company exposure, was successful. We did have some challenges enrolling and validating potential investors through the crowdfunding platform.
While we had a satisfactory result at the end of our raise, this was due largely to a focused and concerted effort (in terms of manpower and dollars spent) of our internal team as a supplement to the crowdfunding platform . We’d advise any companies considering a crowdfunding raise to discuss specific expectations and set guidelines with the platform they raise on. That would be helpful in terms of forming expectations and ensuring timely, helpful support throughout the raise.
CfPA: How did you get the word out about your company during the crowd-raise? How did you go about your marketing?
Jeff Hokenson: We were fortunate to have a seasoned group of marketing professionals on our team that led the marketing efforts for the crowdfund. As shareholders in Alpine-X, they were extremely vested in the process. This reduced our marketing costs for the crowdfund and ultimately made it more successful.
CfPA: What do you feel was your biggest challenge during your crowd-raise?
Jeff Hokenson: Conducting a high-profile crowdfund with limited internal resources can be a challenge.
CfPA: Were there any surprises, good or bad, that you encountered during the fundraising process?
Jeff Hokenson: We were underwhelmed by the marketing that was conducted by Republic to their audience of potential investors. We felt as though we were “on our own” with digital marketing, and were hoping to get more engagement and investment from the registered users on Republic.
CfPA: Since you had to rely on your own efforts for digital marketing, how did you go about reaching investors?
Jeff Hokenson: We did a lot of testing on multiple industry-specific publishers and social-media platforms. We created our own internal metrics on engagement and tried to allocate our digital advertising budget to optimize ROI. We were hoping to get more investors from Republic’s audience, but we had more success with our own networks and allocating our own digital marketing spend. Bode Miller was helpful here as well.
CfPA: What advice would you offer any other companies considering regulation crowdfunding?
Jeff Hokenson: I have 3 core suggestions:
1: Line up all your marketing resources (pitches, videos, marketing materials, influencers, digital ad units, etc.) well in advance of launching your CF, try to avoid “doing them on the fly” - you can tweak them, but have your foundational materials ready to go.
2: Expect to spend more time and money on digital marketing than you had budgeted.
3: Influencers are helpful but don’t move the needle as much as you think they will.
CfPA: Thank you gentlemen for participating in the CfPA Issuer Interview Series.
A special thank you to Jeff Hokenson, Jim Calder, Brad Ryan of Alpine-X.
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The insights that Jeff, Jim and Brad shared are truly invaluable to anyone contemplating a crowdfunding raise. Kudos to them on a successful raise.
The painful reality is that Reg CF does not give portals much ability to raise money for their clients; the issuers are really on their own.