Digital Coffee Morning | FundR – the local project funding platform

Another digital coffee morning, another great idea! This time we created the local project funding platform: FundR. Here’s a brief insight into how we went from choosing the right name all the way to creating a ready-to-build product!

What is digital coffee morning?
We invite 50+ individuals from all different industries to join us for free coffee, pastries and an interactive ideas workshop – with the objective to map out an app or digital product. We start by crowdsourcing different ideas from our attendees and end with a minimum viable product which everyone is happy with. 

digital coffee morning leeds
First guests arrive for our pre-workshop coffee & pastries!

Kicking off: Choosing our digital product

Like all of our digital coffee mornings, the session was full of unique ideas from our attendees on what we should focus on, including:

  • A peer to peer review platform
  • An AR escape room game 
  • The Uber of buses
  • A local funding project platform
  • A petrol consumption app

In the end it was the local funding project platform which won the majority vote. Next, we moved on to giving our new product a name. There seemed to be a trend of words ending in ‘-R‘ or ‘ify‘ for this (think RegeneratoR, Financify).. but it was ‘Fundr’ which stole the show (and the majority vote). 

Next: what problem does our product need to solve?

Our next focus was agreeing on the main problem this platform aimed to solve. It’s easy to get carried away trying to make this as broad as possible (getting swept up in the excitement of solving all of the things in the process!) but co-founder Dan Akers explained the importance of having one main focus when first taking a digital product to market.

So what was the point of FundR?

Was it to stop local projects going unfilled? Or to help make private investors more money?

…We went for the (less ‘evil’) local projects angle.

But what sort of local project were we talking about? Was it for social good (like helping to build a new park or mental health cafe) or was it about helping local independents get off the ground? 

We decided: Local independents/good local projects

Agreeing FundR’s goals

We identified 3 key goals for FundR, which were prioritised as: 

  1. Sourcing funding for good local ideas
  2. Reducing financial risk through partnership and information
  3. Providing guidelines, templates & workflows (to help make it happen!)

Deciding FundR’s features

Next we decided on what we wanted FundR to actually do. We broke it down into 3 areas of features:


  • Posts
  • A view/search
  • Map
  • Post type/structure
  • Funding required
  • Favourites
  • Notifications


  • Q&A’s
  • Validation & certification
  • Market place
  • Review/request & grant access
  • Documents


  • Basic account
  • Posting account details
  • Funding account detials

Creating our ready for build, minimum viable product

Once all features have been mapped out, it can be tempting to build your digital product with as many of these features as possible – but don’t rush in! It’s all about testing your idea out at the lowest possible cost first i.e a MVP (Minimum Viable Product). For FundR (and with any project like this) we recommended 2 phases:

Phase 1: this would include our basic project features required to make the platform useable, such as: product type (restricted to a limited number of types initially), map, basic workflow and registration.

Phase 2: is the ‘money phase’ – this is where the business elements would come into play such as the market place and the validation & certification.

digital coffee morning leeds workshop

What’s next?

As always – all ideas developed in our digital coffee morning’s are free for anyone to go away and build. To take this product to the next level, we’d recommend a further workshop session to nail down the functional specification of the app, before taking it to development.

One attendee raised the question ‘Do we have to build it – can’t you just do a mock up? Surely that would get investment?’. Unfortunately from our experience, and as Dan explained, no one will usually invest without customers or an initial real life version of the product – which is why we say, go for the MVP first! 

Thanks to our awesome attendees for coming down and joining in with the session. Whilst the above gives you some insight into how it all works, you really have to experience it for yourself! Get tickets for the next one here.

Got your own idea for a digital product?

Have you been asking how do I develop my app idea?

If you’ve got a digital product idea (a platform, an app – you name it!) that you’re interested in moving forward, then our LightStart team can guide you through the process with expert training and workshops. We’re experienced at taking digital ideas from their initial inception right through to successfully launched products and businesses. Sign up to an initial free workshop with our talented and passionate team right here.

We also have loads more events coming up in the LightStart calendar – check out our event listing page to reserve your place (but be quick – they fill up fast!).