Say what you will about the interconnectivity that the internet has brought us—it has opened a lot of doors that would normally never have been available otherwise.
Not the least of which are its benefits on the financial side of things. When before a person with an idea for a small business would have no other recourse but to go, cap in hand, to the nearest bank or credit union to get a loan for funding, these days, the options are much more varied—some of which are plain sailing.
Take crowd funding, for instance. This has only become a buzz word in the last decade or so, but it has raised millions of dollars for various projects, startups, and social causes worldwide since. In a nutshell, crowd funding refers to collaborative funding, which is a true offshoot of today’s large collaborative economy.
While we usually encounter crowd funding on social media with people in our networks soliciting for funds for various causes and illnesses, crowd funding is actually much more than that. In fact, it has since branched out to include investment crowdfunding which gives you a chance to be a shareholder in a fledgling company requiring funding, mobile solutions, localization or geography-specific funding, and even for groups.
And because of the growth of the crowd funding movement, it is only natural that many would want to get in on the bandwagon, which explains the proliferation of crowd funding sites that seem to grow exponentially in number by the day. So without further ado, let us take a look at the best crowd funding sites available today:
As far as crowd funding goes, Kickstarter is a true household name, being the largest and most well-known of the bunch. Since it was launched in 2009, it has raised over $1 billion for a whopping 67,000 projects. What makes Kickstarter so successful is that it actually offers incentives to backers through creative gimmicks. It is also, by far, the most trusted as submissions are studiously reviewed by a dedicated staff. However, Kickstarter is a lot more geared towards small business startups and their often inventive projects.
Unlike Kickstarter, GoFundMe is actually a lot more personal in nature. Submissions usually range from raising money for a requisite surgery to asking for donations for family projects and vacations. Because of its largely personal reach, it has raised over $400 million for various causes, including $3 million for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. It also has a small business demographic, which is largely based on the arts.
Launched as early as 2008, Indiegogo is one of the very first crowd funding sites, making it a true pioneer in the industry. It is also rather well-funded, catering mostly to artistic endeavors like films, music, and the arts. Indiegogo recently made headlines for hosting an initiative to build a Tesla museum, which is one of the most iconic and most successful crowd funding projects there is.
Crowdrise is largely for charitable initiatives, as well as for events, most notably the Ironman Race Series and both the New York and Boston Marathons. It makes use of “impact points” that drives submissions further into the front of the site with each donation it receives.
Crowdfunder is a small business startup’s best friend. It is unique in such a way that it allows startups to raise funds by selling securities that are either debt or revenue based, as well as selling equity. This is a true favorite of venture capitalists, as well as those who are looking for them. There have been instances where projects which needed $1 million to $2 million, ended up attracting and raising over five times the needed amount! And that surely, can’t be a bad thing.
RocketHub is rather straightforward in that it’s a platform for raising funds. However, it has the added bonus of providing project and startup owners with free training in marketing and development. It is also partnered with Project Startup, which handpicks projects from RocketHub and features them both on air and online.
If you are an app developer looking to get your app project financed, then this is the crowd funding platform for you. Appbackr is open to apps that are currently under development or those that are already live but need further work. It works by letter “backers” purchase copies of the app in the Appbacker marketplace. Then, when this app goes live on mobile app stores, they take a cut off the price difference.
Indeed, crowd funding platforms may be a dime a dozen these days, but there are still those that stand out from the pack, making them a great place to get started, if crowd funding is in the cards for you and your project or startup.