Do you have a great idea for a new business venture, a creative new art project, or just a special dream in your life, but you cannot snag a bank loan or a venture capitalist? That is when crowdfunding comes into play. Using a crowdfunding Web site, you throw your idea to the crowds and let them decide how much they will donate. The good news is you retain full ownership of the creative idea or business. Although you will incur a small fee based on the money raised, the net is yours to keep.
This model works for an extremely wide variety of projects. Categories include dance, art, technology, games, business, theater, publishing, food, design, and fashion to name a few. Two of the more popular Web sites for crowdfunding are Kickstarter.com and Indiegogo.com. For example, here are just a few success stories related to Kickstarter:
10% of the films at Sundance.
The film, Incident in New Baghdad, was the second Kickstarter-funded film to be nominated for an Oscar.
An opera premiered at the Kennedy Center.
Kentucky sixth-graders sent a camera into space.
Publisher’s Weekly declared Kickstarter the second-leading publisher of graphic novels.
The world’s first pizza museum debuted in Philadelphia.
A photography exhibition traveled across Afghanistan.
OpenROV sent underwater robots around the globe.
Atlanta had its first squirrel census.
To give you an idea of the magnitude of crowdfunding, in 2012, Kickstarter saw nearly $275 million collected from 2.24 million contributors. Including Kickstarter, a grand total of $2.7 billion was raised through all crowdfunding organizations last year. Experts are predicting 2013 will see over $5 billion raised (Michael Lev-Ram with Kurt Wagner, “Crowdfunding Tries to Grow Up” Fortune, May 20, 2013, pp. 40–44). That is no chunk change!
So, do you have a novel, wild, wacky, innovative dream, art project, mission, or business idea? Perhaps crowdfunding is your answer. You will never know unless you try.