BY SALLY OUTLAW ,
In her book Cash From the Crowd, Sally Outlaw, founder and CEO of crowdfunding website peerbackers, reveals the secrets of funding your business with help from colleagues, peers, family, friends and even perfect strangers through a crowdfunding campaign. In this edited excerpt, the author offers details on some crowdfunding platforms that offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to generate funds for their new venture. New crowdfunding platforms launch literally every day, so I’m only citing a few select ones that, in my experience, have the best track records, have been around long enough to build traction and a good reputation, and can be used to fund businesses. There are many reputable platforms, however, and a directory of crowdfunding platforms.
Indiegogo. Originally launched with a focus on film, Indiegogo pivoted to include funding for literally anything and is becoming known for financing personal and cause-related campaigns such as that for the bullied bus monitor, which raised over $700,000. It accepts all projects without review. As Indiegogo says on its website, “Our platform is available to anyone, anywhere, to raise money for anything.” While its success fee at 4 percent is 1 percent lower than most websites (which charge 5 percent), it does charge one of the highest fees in the industry — 9 percent — if you don’t meet your goal.
RocketHub. Initially launched with the arts in mind, it expanded to include science, education, business and social good projects. It gained traction in the sciences with its annual SciFund Challenge, an online effort to fund science projects. It also launched a partnership with A&E Networks through which some select projects will be chosen to receive extra support from the joint initiative.
Peerbackers. Consistently recognized as one of the top crowdfunding websites in the industry, peerbackers, which I co-founded and run, focuses on funding entrepreneurs and innovators. The platform has hosted thousands of creative, civic and entrepreneurial projects from around the world and recently expanded to include young entrepreneurs ages 13 to 17 through partnerships with student organizations. After seeing such a high industry failure rate for crowdfunding projects, peerbackers launched Crowdfunding Academy to offer education and support to those who want to crowdfund.
Kickstarter. The most well-known of the crowdfunding websites, Kickstarter focuses on creative endeavors including design, the arts (film, publishing, music), gaming and technology. While Kickstarter can’t be used to fund businesses per se, it does accept products and has had some remarkably successful campaigns, including about 50 that have generated over a million dollars in funding. Kickstarter “curates” its projects, meaning it has a rigorous submission process, and if you aren’t approved to post, it can be quite disappointing.
Indiegogo, RocketHub and peerbackers are open to project creators around the world. Kickstarter only accepts project creators from the U.S., U.K. and Canada.