Can CrowdFunding Give the Private Space Race a Boost?

 Virgin Galactic's first commercial space flight

Virgin Galactic’s first commercial space flight


By Stephanie Mlot, The end of the space shuttle program ushered in a new era of space exploration carried out by private firms like SpaceX. But Elon Musk isn’t the only one interested in exploring the cosmos, and some organizations have turned to crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to make their space dreams a reality.
Former NASA engineer and LiftPort Group founder Michael Laine, for example, took to Kickstarter last year in an effort to fund a sci-fi-inspired Lunar Elevator, or a rocketless transportation system to the moon.
LiftPort’s modest campaign set an $8,000 goal to build an indoor test rig and a robot that can climb 2 kilometers straight up – an early step in the eventual construction of a Space Elevator. For a company that had only five years earlier shut down the project after running out of money, the hope for this campaign was to help rebuild the LiftPort community.
Over the course of the 21-day funding campaign, the company earned more than $110,000 from 3,468 backers – a response that “literally changed our lives,” Laine said Saturday during an appearance at the Engadget Expand conference in New York. “We were completely unprepared for that.”
The overwhelming support helped LiftPort make history as Kickstarter’s first $100,000-plus space campaign.
“The Kickstarter folks have been amazing,” Laine said. “We wouldn’t be sitting here otherwise.”
Asteroid-mining company Planetary Resources set a much more ambitious goal: $1 million for the development of a low-Earth orbit telescope. The springtime Kickstarter campaign earned more than $1.5 million from 17,600 supports in 32 days. Excess funds, the company promised in June, will be used to launch a search for alien worlds.
For Planetary Resources President Chris Lewicki, Kickstarter was an opportunity to gauge the public’s interest in the private company’s product. Before investing too many resources, the company was able to throw out a handful of ideas to see what stuck.
“When we announced the company to the public last year, we had an overwhelming response of interest,” Lewicki said.
The Planetary Resources community has since grown to about 18,000 people. And it’s that community that these companies rely on, according to Laine, who admitted that he was startled by the crowdfunding focus on money.
“Yes, it’s a factor,” he said. “But the thing that’s most important was contacts, relationships, and the global community.” Some of LiftPort’s initial supporters later became members of the board of advisers.
“I didn’t care about the cash. I was really trying to build the community,” Laine said.
Lewicki suggested that services like Kickstarter or Indiegogo are the best way to test the global interest in an idea.
“For us, failure was an option,” he said Saturday, adding that if the campaign was a dud, they’d only lost a month of effort instead of hundreds of millions of dollars. Thankfully for Planetary Resources, the end result was anything but a worthless.
For more on Planetary Resources, see PCMag’s interview with co-founder Peter Diamandis
Source and More
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2426942,00.asp

HEADLINE NEWS

U.S. News & World ReportNo Cash for Hate, Say Mainstream Crowdfunding FirmsU.S. News & World ReportThe block on mainstream crowdfunding is just the latest blow to far-right activists operating online. In the last 24 hours, neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer had its domain regi [...]

LITTLE GUIDANCE FROM IRS ON TAXING CROWDFUNDING CONTRIBUTIONSBloomberg BNAWe've all heard the stories of crowdfunding appeals that go viral. Whether it's a musician raising money to produce an album, an inventor with a great idea, or a family in distress that needs help, cro [...]

VCCircleNew trends in crowdfunding that make it a potent fund-raising toolVCCircleOver the years, crowdfunding has become popular among entrepreneurs mainly because it's a great way to test the waters before you actually launch the product or service. You understand your idea [...]

FortuneIndiegogo's Difficult Path to Offering Equity CrowdfundingFortuneIndiegogo founder Slava Rubin discusses how Indiegogo's equity crowdfunding service has been performing since its launch in 2016. Photograph by Indiegogo. E-mail; Tweet; Facebook; Linkedin. Share icons. [...]

Telegraph.co.ukSkiTelegraph.co.ukBut now, to supplement her fast food income and to be more certain of joining her older sister Katie, a fixture on the Park and Pipe team, Summerhayes has launched a crowdfunding campaign with PledgeSports to raise some money towards her travel and ... [...]

Crain's Cleveland Business'Smaller' gifts can go long way for Clinic's crowdfunding platformCrain's Cleveland BusinessFor an institution accustomed to securing multimillion-dollar donations, Cleveland Clinic's latest fundraising effort has some relatively [...]

NewshubWoman born without vagina crowdfunding surgeryNewshubThe family of a woman born without a vagina has started a crowdfunding campaign to receive reconstructive surgery. Kaylee Moats, from Arizona, lives with Mayer Rokitansky Küster Hauser syndrome (MRKH) meaning she has no cervi [...]

ForbesWhat Works In Equity Crowdfunding -- Insights From ResearchForbesAs we have recently celebrated the fourth anniversary of the signing of the JOBS Act into law, it is a good time to take stock of the effect that the legislature had on equity crowdfunding in the United States. It [...]

Global Crowdfunding Market 2017-2021PR Newswire (press release)Global Crowdfunding Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The rep [...]

AOL UKShould you forget the stock market and focus on crowdfunding?AOL UKIn recent years, the popularity of crowdfunding has soared. For example, in 2016 the amount raised through crowdfunding surpassed venture capital funding for the first time in its history. By 2025, it is estimate [...]

CFB Finance

Marketwired

  • Crowdfunding
  • Crowdfund
  • Peer to Peer Lending
  • FinTech
  • Reg A+
  • Reg CF
  • Crowdfunding USA

Press Release

Live Crowdfunding .tv

What's Next Step in Regulation A+ JOBS ACTS Title IIII :L Interview : Steve Cinelli with Brian Korn Securities and Crowdfunding/Peer-to-Peer Lending Lawyer, Watch more video library | Conference | Interview | Campaign Showcase | Research | Education |