9 crowdfunding websites to help you change the world.

July 18, 201052 Comments
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For many people, the thought of taking significant financial risk holds them back from jumping head-long into launching the idea that has been stuck in the recesses of their head. This collection of sites are designed to take the risk out of that creativity and innovation, allowing even the little guy to do something amazing.

Who needs venture capital funding to get their idea off the ground? If you’ve been holding back because of it, you might just find there’s help out there, fueled by the community, and managed by some of these fantastic sites, which can help you fund your idea, business startup or music project.

KickStarter

URL: http://www.kickstarter.com/

KickStarter has received quite a bit of publicity recently for its efforts. Most notably the open source facebook alternative Diaspora managed to raise $10,000 in just 39 days, proving that the concept had legs, and that crowdfunding as  a concept has the community well and truly behind it. It’s not just software projects that the site caters for, out of all the current activity on the site, software is probably the most dull – as creatives around the world have embraced it as a way to realise spectacular dreams.  With everything from life sized mousetrap games to one man’s cultural journey across Mexico KickStarter has clearly captured the imagination of its audience.

As far as the rules for funding goes, KickStarter keeps things simple. In order to receive the funding needed, a project must reach or exceed its funding goal or no money changes hands. If you do manage to reach your goal, 5% is taken from the project creator. Personally I think this is fair, with the current traffic / reach of the site, the tools available to manage your project, and the empowerment that a site like this gives individuals 5% isn’t that big an ask.

RocketHub

URL: http://www.rockethub.com/

Another very similar site to KickStarter is RocketHub. Describing themselves as a grass roots crowdfunding site, Rockethub’s focus is again within the creative arts, with the two audiences for the site split into ‘Fuelers’ – those providing financial assistance to cool projects, and ‘Creatives’ – those coming up with the concepts, artwork and music and in need of funding.

One fundamental differences between KickStarter and RocketHub is the use of rewards and badges to help encourage interaction on the site, and to help get users engaged with the projects needing assistance. A perfect example of game theory in action.

They also differ in that the fees for RocketHub are a little higher (or less depending on how you look at it) – 4.5% goes to Fuel RocketHub, and 3.5% is applied to cover PayPal’s transaction fees. Whilst PayPal is an extremely well recognised payment system, it would be nice to see them trying to eradicate that extra 3.5% by using an alternative gateway.

Edit. I got this completely wrong, RocketHub’s fee is actually either the same or lower than Kickstarter’s. Rockethub always charge a flat 8% while Kickstarter charges a flat 5% AND passes along the Amazon Payments transactional fees to the artists who utilize their platform – which can be anywhere between 3% and 5%. So the total Kickstarter fee can be anywhere between 8% and 10% while RocketHub always offers a flat 8% fee.

Quirky

URL: http://www.quirky.com/

Quirky offers product designers and inventors a shot at getting their product to market. They call their product a ‘social product development tool’ – which it is, allowing the community to vote for products that they think would sell, and are worth creating, in the process single handedly changing the way people think about product development. Feedback can be received on product direction, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, all from within the Quirky site, resulting in products that have a stronger vision than those generated through traditional means.

Submitting an idea to the site does cost $99, but with the support and feedback received on an idea, and the Quirky site offering a way of getting a product to market that wouldn’t have otherwise made it, this is a cost that many will and have happily paid. You only need an idea, and a few scribbles / scans to potentially get your idea in front of millions.

Fundbreak

URL: http://www.fundbreak.com.au/

Fundbreak is an Australian crowdfunding website, again with the all or nothing funding model, fundbreak insist that your goal is reached prior to receiving any funding at all.  Fundbreak fees are set at 5% for invitees, or 7.5% for standard joe public users plus 2.4% for Paypal transaction fees making it one of the more expensive options considering what’s out there at the minute, however sometimes having a dedicated site for a particular country can help attract a local audience.

If you have a project that is performance art or requires a live audience this can be a worthwhile advantage and I’ve no doubt that the majority of Fundbreak’s traffic is currently Australian. Worth noting as well that anyone can launch a project, or support a project to meet its funding goal. You are not required to be in Australia.

Some of my favourite projects being created at present on Fundbreak are ‘Tell me a story‘  and ‘Oceans and Wires‘ two projects that received more than 100% funding and perfectly show the sort of creativity that can be taken for a walk and tested out online.

CatWalkGenius

URL: http://www.catwalkgenius.com/

Cat Walk Genius gives all you budding fashion designers out there the chance to launch your own clothing line, all by using the power of the crowd.  You can be part of your own fan-funded collection, needing nothing more than your browser, a sprinkle of talent and some creativity.  As with the other crowdfunding websites mentioned, their are two audiences. Supporters – the folks interesting in helping a designer financially, and the designers – who create the magic. You can apply to be either or both a designer or supporter.

As a supporter, should you choose to back a designer who’s work you like, you are effectively buying shares in their lines. Starting from as little as £11, not only can you aid the production of clothing that you like, you are effectively investing in their future sales for up to 6 months.  If your designer hits the target and their new collection goes on sale you get a share of the sales revenues, proportionate to your share of the funding.

As a designer, Cat Walk Genius allows you to rally your troops, and sell direct to your fans through the site. You will be able to fulfill orders all without the cost of setting up your own online e-commerce shop.  Adding images to a profile page is free for designers (up to a point) – with additional images costing a small additional fee.

Overall Cat Walk Genius provides an innovative platform for designers to receive the recognition they deserve, and build a fanbase around their collections, all through the power of crowdfunding. Genius indeed.

Fans Next Door

URL: http://en.fansnextdoor.com/

FansNextDoor Crowdfunding website

Fans next door is a European Crowdfunding website  (still in beta) and as yet they don’t  take a cut for promoting projects through their site, with the only additional costs being the PayPal processing fees. They currently accept all types of art forms, from literature to films, visual arts and craft, music, performances, fashion, design, and video games. As the user base grows and additional forms of projects come along we can expect this to evolve.

The reward concept has been used in the promotion of many of the projects, with the system being architected to show what you get from artists for increasing amounts of funding. For example €10 may get you a copy of the artwork, €20 may get you a copy of the artwork signed etc. etc. The more of a fan you are, the more you can expect to receive.

IndieGoGo

URL: http://www.indiegogo.com/

IndieGoGo offers a wide variety of creative art funding categories, with projects in everything from Inventions to Gaming to Mobile Apps to Performing Arts. No matter what you are trying to raise funds for, there will be other projects in that category currently receiving funding. Another benefit that IndieToGoGo offers is that they have hooked up with suitable partners to help give your project extra reach through commercial channels.

Probably the most impressive of these partnerships is MTV New Media, which could see your work being featured on MTV or VH1 – with of course, your permission. Desirable content includes fictional and non-fictional web series, shorts and other digital content, with the partnership helping to discover develop and distribute the best projects and creative talent on the web. At the very least it gives project creators a chance at much needed additional exposure.

Another recognised side effect that IndieToGoGo have capitalised on for project creators, is unique rewards and pre-sales. Unique rewards have been used by artists such as Dizraeli to provide backers with artwork, private concerts and signed albums to further fund his musical pursuit. Pre-sales obviously allows you to generate interest in a concept or project prior to even starting it, with the web becoming your marketing machine, and IndieToGoGo your vehicle.  Unlike a few of the other crowdfunding sites mentioned here, if you don’t fully reach your goal – you keep the current funds to date. With a few of the others mentioned here, (such as RocketHub and KickStarter) you must fully realise your specified amount prior to receiving anything. I’ve no doubt that this financial safety net will appeal to many project creators.

CoFundos

URL: http://www.cofundos.org/

CoFundos operates on the basis of pledges, allowing you to signup, and create an open source project / idea that you would like to develop. Crowd sourcing is used at all stages of the project to allow contribution of the requirements and refinements to the project.  Essentially, the system gives users of open source software the ability to fund specific developments that may not already be in the existing software path, and spread the cost amongst the community.

Developers can choose to take your idea or project on, and when the implementation has been agreed by multiple bidders are requested to make the respective donations.

Profounder

URL: http://www.profounder.com/

Profounder operates on the basis that inside everyone’s social circle both online and offline – there are people who are willing to support your dream. Each of those people potentially becomes an investor in your company, and equity is split amongst them.  Profounder gives you the tools to raise the capital that you need, and the tools to manage all of the associated book-keeping, legals and compliance fillings.  Right now, the site is still very much in alpha status, with registrations due to open in the Autumn. Still you can sign up for status as an ‘alpha entreupreneur’ if you want to start earlier than that, and are serious about using the system.

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Paul is a regular 30 year old web bloke / programmer with a penchant for online marketing. This blog is a personal outlet, with an eclectic mix of articles.

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Sites That Link to this Post

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  1. Rick says:

    Fundbreak is launching in the Uk very soon as well, http://www.fundbreak.co.uk

  2. Jed Cohen says:

    Hi Paul – thank you for taking the time to learn so much about crowdfunding! Here are a few additional details that differentiate RocketHub from the other sites you mention.

    1. RocketHub is an open platform. No invitations are necessary, we
    just ask that people keep the projects legal and tasteful.

    2. RocketHub is for Creatives by Creatives. While several of our
    competitors are backed by big venture capital dollars, we are totally
    bootstrapped. The three founders are a former actor (me), a
    singer/songwriter (Brian) and a writer (Vlad). With a grand total of
    zero MBA’s between us, we are in this business because we feel
    passionately about our mission: To Liberate Creativity.

    3. We are global. While others require folks to be legal US
    residents to post a project, we are open to the world. The only
    requirement to post a project is that you have a PayPal account.

    4. We’ve developed a large educational component to help Creatives
    everywhere avoid common pitfalls. For crowdfunding tips and tactics
    please take a look at our sister site: http://www.RocketHub.org.

  3. Jacqueline says:

    Thank you for all this great information. I am just starting out as a blogger hoping to make a positive impact on the world (as you can see from my URL) Getting into the world of blogging and social media is rather over whelming for a newbie – to the point it has almost scared me to the point of not following me dream because of it. I will follow your information and look forward to learning from it. Thank you for writing in an understandable way for us newbies to the world of social media and making the content worth reading.

  4. Harald Korneliussen says:

    You really have done a lot of research. I followed the crowdfunding phenomenon for many years, but almost all of the projects you list are new to me!

    For a catalog of crowdfunding sites, I think it’s worth mentioning the ones that failed as well. I can at least think of fundable.org, which fell to credit card fraud and internal disputes, and StrayForm, which tragically shut down when its founder was killed in a car accident. But I’m almost sure there were more, which I can’t remember right now.

  5. Darren says:

    Hi,

    Crowdfunder.co.uk has just launched. Based in the UK but offering service globally.

  6. Sally Outlaw says:

    Just wanted to add another crowdfunding site into the mix here – functions just like Kickstarter but this site is totally focused on helping entrepreneurs and startups get the capital they need for their business. If you are trying to get capital to fund your next great idea – feel free to submit!

  7. Paul Anthony says:

    Thanks Sally,

    http://peerbackers.com/ – Peerbackers looks interesting, best of luck with it.

    Paul.

  8. Markus says:

    Just wanted to add another crowdfunding platform from Germany: mySherpas

    Currently just in German, but we are working on English and some other languages ;-)

    Markus

  9. Sile Duffy says:

    Hi there Everyone,

    Anyone help me out here …

    I’m trying to get a hook on which platform / programme might make the best to use for crowdsourcing website – best in terms of longterm durability, and management.

    I’ve had suggestions of Django and Drupal to date………

    I’m not a programmer, so I don’t know what is the predominant choice in the sites above…
    anyone else know ?

    Really appreciate a digout here….

    DigitalDame in Destress..

  10. Eddie says:

    Hi Paul,
    Just read you interesting blog. We are the most succesful crowdfunding project at present in the music industry in the Nehterlands and as far as we can see even in Europe. My girlfriend Hind has raised $60.000 in just 11 days through the crowdfunding platform http://www.sellaband.com

    With that money we went to Steve Power the producer of the first 5 hitlabums of Robbie Williams and we have worked with him the last year creating the new Hind album. The album named: “Hind Crosspop” has released on October the 8th in the Netherlands and entered on #8 in the album top 100.

    So for us crowdfunding helped a lot, but its hard work to get such success. You need tons of media in order to succeed. People need to believe upfront without knowing what kind of end product they will receive, and that is just one of the challenges to overtake when using crowdfunding.

  11. Dick Purcell says:

    Paul –

    I’m undertaking a modest project to help entrepreneurs master the financial reports jigsaw puzzle, for dealing with financiers, and more important for planning the venture’s financial future. I think it can help lots of the folks considering crowdfunding. My system puts the reports together to reveal a graphic Financial Picture of the venture. You can see a glimpse of it at http://www.financialpicture.net. My current project is to develop Financial Pictures customized for various businesses. Any suggestions on best crowdsourcing sites for this project?

    Dick Purcell

  12. TJ says:

    Sprowd.com will be the true crowdfunding revolution. Check yourself at Sprowd.com.

  13. Mara says:

    Thanks for this list, and the comments- I am just learning about crowdfunding- just made my first “investment” through appbackr, and am trying to get a lay of the land. I feel like it’s using the connectivity the Internet provides in a really positive way (bringing people who should be able to connect together- rather than just digitizing the real world) and also takes the notion of investing back to it’s roots- buying into an idea you support and think will make it. I’d love go heR success, and failure stories (as one other person commented) as I’m sure there will be both! Thanks

  14. terra says:

    Hi Paul, just found your site on a Google search. Thanks for the great article (even tho I’m coming in a bit late!) I look forward to reading much more here. Keep up the good work!

    Many thanks,

    Terra

  15. Noel Ramos says:

    I just registered CrowdFun.de

    If anyone wants to help me develop a crowdfunding site specifically for independent musicians, contact me!

    noelramos@intermixx.com

  16. lotusfire says:

    Hi and thank You for your research!
    Curious, had you come across the BC originated crowd funding site called Give Meaning?
    What do you think? It was my first crowdfunding site many years ago. Have we come much further in successful fundraising?
    Kickstarter runs in a very similar format and Givemeaning is more focused on projects that are international.
    http://www.givemeaning.com/community/World/type/All/page/1/cause/

    thanks again!!

  17. Sean says:

    Great Post. We’d like to throw our hat in the ring too…. http://www.VenCorps.com
    We are the world’s first crowdsourced VC. Where it is our money but your choice.

    We are looking to fund 12 startups in 12 month. Would love your input on who should get the $25,000.

    Sean

  18. Paul Anthony says:

    Hi Sean,

    Firstly. Thank you for your transparency. I wish more startups could follow your lead, and instead of posting the usual

    ‘Can’t believe you forgot [insertmystartuphere].com, it’s great’

    You’ve come right out and said it. Currently checking it out now.

    Paul.

  19. Thanks for the additional information, Paul! It’s a great addition to our site. Kudos to Paul for providing this information which helps people find ways to make their dreams a reality!

    Here’s another interesting read, http://www.crowdsourcing.org/l/334. Almost all of the sites mentioned in this article are already mentioned by Paul, except for Micro Ventures.

  20. I had launched clownfunding in my own website to produce a documentary The Nomads Smile

  21. Bruce Eubank says:

    I’m new at this – just found out about crowdfunding – I have a question that might be silly or simplistic, but what happens to the money people contribute to a project or idea? What I mean is, are these considered donations that do not have to be paid back to the contributor? Does the contributor get anything out of their donation?
    please reply to my email address at: beubank@msn.com.
    Thanks….

  22. Paul Anthony says:

    Hi Bruce,

    In many occasions this isn’t ‘free money’ so to speak. Contributors are given parts of the project or benefits in return for their donations. Take a look at some of the projects to see what they offer their donators.

    Paul.

  23. Sally Outlaw says:

    Hi Bruce (and others!). As Paul said above – all the crowdfunding sites are different (ours – http://peerbackers.com) does not make the posters give up equity – our model is based on the entrepreneurs/project posters givng a tangible reward in exchange for the contribution (the reward can be any product or service the project owner has access to – even a Tshirt). Best idea is probably to go to the different sites and read through their FAQ’s as this will explain how the backing aspect works.

  24. Serge says:

    Well, I went through the crowdfunding sites presented here.

    It was of interest for me as I’ve just opened the social investment project “Waste to Energy” for Western Africa on http://patronnet.com

    But I met nowhere the terms what could actually help a real business.
    First of all – they do not provide a proper promotion of Your idea – You should do it yourself mainly.

    If so – what is the difference between “special crowdfunding site” and Your own webpage with “Donate” PayPal button ?

  25. phil says:

    Oh my God this is interesting collection of sites, With excellent details and explanation. I know three sites in your list i have tested them. They did not work for me as i am from africa. If i had come earlier to your blog i would have not wasted my time and money (internet is pretty expensive down hear). LOL
    any way i have tried to fund my documentary film project for the past three years. I have applied for funding to the EU and many many organizations, yet i am still searching. I will use some of the sites list hear to fund my project.. Thank you!!!
    If any one out there knows the beast suitable crowdfunding site for african filmmakers please email me sniffweb@gmail.com

  26. Since 2008, 40Billion has been the best (and lowest cost) way for entrepreneurs to raise money for a business through friends, family, and social networks. 40Billion.com includes a free business plan template and is a good option for business owners seeking alternative ways to finance a small business or startup. Small businesses and startup entrepreneurs raise money through personal connections online. This elevates access to funding, increases transparency, reduces costs, and lowers risk.

    Entrepreneurs connect with their social networks (friends, family, friends of family, community members, colleagues, alumni and others) to raise up to $1,000,000 in capital by requesting gifts, private direct loans, and short-term commercial paper loans. Funders and investors can get product discounts and rewards too.

  27. I figured several years ago that crowdfunding would catch on, so I started work on a back end that could support all manner of crowdfunding variations. It’s http://contingencymarket.com

    Almost finished, but ran out of funding…

  28. Cloudwalker says:

    Thank You Paul!

    I have not quite got the grasp of blogs…but I would hope the “others” out there are as fun to read, and provide everyone with knowledge as yours does.

    I am a US Army Vet 4 years in remission….prior to relocating to Hawaii-I had a sale at our home.

    Well, the sale turned ugly when someone entered areas we had blocked off and “appropriated” a very rare book that was irreplaceable…..but after the sale….of everything, except personal effects; as we began packing we realized that someone made off with ALL of my Nikon equipment I had bagged in a “secure area.”

    It took me years to accumulate….

    My question is, ” what site” would you suggest to utilize to (crowdfund) for a photographer-to raise funds for equipment, website, domain name, cost of llc, hosting, and my defunct 5 yo overloaded computer. I have 100s of “frame worthy photos” and plan to utilize many of them as rewards; and offer supporters planning a trip here noteworthy tour suggestions and photo time, and on top of that “years of research” of information many people in regards to everything about “life.” GREAT websites, and info something for everyone!

    I have crunched numbers….really need $14,000.00….but would be thrilled to raise $8,500.00 to get snapping and provide supporters with photos of “hidden areas of Hawaii and the People.”

    I would really be thrilled if I raised 14+ then I could purchase a used van and convert it into an “on the spot” rolling studio…

    I will provide you with SUPER photos for your office, house….or to throw darts at! :)

    Paul, I am looking forward to your guidance; and again thank you for doing what you do!

    It is GREAT! Don’t stop!

    Mahalo’

  29. Karen Rands says:

    Recently did my radio show The Compassionate Capitalist on this topic and included Crowdfunding… how not to get bit by the SEC Tiger by violating their rules for public solicitation and too many un-accredited investors. Expanded on that in my blog EntrepreneurBlogspace.com and included a link to this list… Good overview of the sites that are available.
    Here is the full article http://entrepreneurblogspace.com/2011/10/crowdfunding-do-online-investor-portals-work/

  30. Dale says:

    If your not offering stock then you are not violating any SEC rules. Anyone can gift to anyone and that would be income for the person or business that is receiving the money, and it is not tax deductible unless they are a 501-C3 non-profit corporation. If it is defined in any way as a security or account for return of investment in any way then it is classified under SEC rules. See Barron’s Business Law- Securities act of 1933.
    After reading several of the crowdfunding plans I see that they closely appear as stock offering’s, and maybe they are. So do your research and if your ready then hire an attorney for your start up and see an accountant about how to set it up financially. Put your business plan first, without it you will get nowhere, it must be practical even a non-profit must make money.
    A traditional stock offering can be made if you can finance it or find investors.
    I just started learning about crowdfunding, so I am doing the research.
    Be prepared to spend a lot of time getting something going, nothing happens overnight, but don’t give up.
    There are 1,000′s of companies with stocks that are pink sheet, OTC listed unregistered with the SEC, and many violate SEC regulations and most go under losing all that investors put in.
    The ideal of crowdfunding is to better society by creating a way to help those who need it most. Those who help fund any business this way should do it as a gift.

  31. FundMyWish.com allows the families of terminally ill patients to list their “bucket list” wishes for others to crowdfund. No fees involved – a public service of Conzortia Business Funding, Inc.

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