BY JESSICA HULLINGER | The Fiscal Times | May 30, 2014 – Slava Rubin is no stranger to rejection. He’s the CEO and cofounder of Indiegogo, a crowdfunding site that, after launching in 2008, was turned down by 90 venture capitalists before receiving any institutional money.
Fast forward six years to 2014. In January, Indiegogo completed the largest funding round of any crowdfunding startup — $40 million. And last week the site announced millions in new investments from a lineup of tech and innovation heavyweights, including Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group; Max Levchin, cofounder of PayPal; and Megan Smith, vice president of Google[x], the search giant’s research lab.
This all comes at a time when crowdfunding platforms are abundant, and Kickstarter, Indiegogo’s main competitor, has substantially more name recognition. So why are investors betting on Indiegogo? Here’s what Branson says: “One of the biggest challenges faced by entrepreneurs is access to capital. Indiegogo helps to solve that problem and empowers anyone in the world to do well and do good.”
While traditional routes to capital are fraught with rejection, Indiegogo is establishing itself as the platform that says yes to entrepreneurs where others say no. With new money in its pockets, it is accelerating its plan to democratize funding.
Indiegogo doesn’t turn down campaigns. Whereas Kickstarter projects must meet a long list of requirements before going live, Indiegogo projects launch when their creators say they do, without being vetted. This low barrier to entry makes Indiegogo the largest crowdfunding platform, with more than 200,000 campaigns hosted, compared to Kickstarter’s 148,000. “Indiegogo has no opinions,” Rubin says. “It has no judgment. If people wanna fund it, they fund it. If they don’t wanna fund it, they don’t fund it.”