Faces in the crowd: WNC crowdfunding initiatives

IT'S ELECTRIC: Cyclist Eric Crews' battery-powered bike "feels and rides like a normal bike and allows riders to easily switch between pedal assist modes to take advantage of a powerful mid drive motor," according to the product's crowdfunding page. "This bike was made to fly."

Crowdfunding platforms make it possible for individuals and organizations of any size to harness social networks and raise start-up capital for projects that might otherwise fail due to lack of funding. Each week, Xpress highlights notable Western North Carolina crowdsourcing initiatives that may inspire readers to become new faces in the crowd.

The All-Go electric bike

It’s a common sight on Clingman Avenue and any number of other hilly areas: bikers panting their way forward in opposition to gravity. Electric bikes are an increasingly popular solution for such uphill adventures, but the drawback is their weight, which often exceeds 50 pounds. Asheville cyclist Eric Crews designed the All-Go bike to abolish that tradeoff. With its carbon-fiber frame, the invention weighs in at 33 pounds, and that includes a battery pack with enough power to last 35 miles and support speeds of roughly 30 miles per hour on flat land. A digital display keeps track of the rider’s pace, mileage, remaining power and the outdoor temperature. Crews’ company, M2S Bikes, aims to raise $50,000 by Friday, July 8, and pre-sell at least 30 bikes to support All-Go’s first production run.

Asheville Cougars make a comeback

The Asheville Cougars’ 2015 football season ended abruptly when a roster of the inner-city youth players was found to contain incorrect jersey numbers. And a vote by the governing body of WNC Youth Football and Cheerleading meant no post-season play for the previously undefeated Cougars, some of whom counted on their coaches and teammates for far more than sports. “But the story doesn’t end here,” reads a crowdfunding page for the team. “With your support, the Asheville Cougars will return to the field in 2016, ready to work hard, sacrifice, take on their competition and restore their pride.” Practice for the 2016 season begins in July, and the young footballers aim to raise $25,000 to purchase new uniforms and safety equipment for themselves and the team’s cheerleaders.

Send your crowdsourcing campaign news to kmcreynolds@mountainx.com. A limited number of campaigns will be highlighted each week, at Xpress’ discretion. Campaigns must be locally based and should represent a current project with an achievable goal. Conditions are subject to change. Read about more Western North Carolina projects here.

About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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