Numerous new platforms like WhenYouWish.com and niche platforms like Medstartr opened their doors, the JOBS Act in the US and other laws in Europe opened the door for equity crowdfunding, and donation-based campaigns began to collect seven-figure totals from the crowd.
To kick-off our year-end review of crowdfunding in 2012, our team profiled the five highest-grossing projects of the year. Lots of them have to do with gadgets and gaming, as you’ll see. I want to make it clear that these big money-makers are just a small slice of the overall crowdfunding pie, and we believe this top five reflects the fact that gamers and gadget early adopters have emerged as a kind of early “sweet spot” for donation-based crowdfunding. More about that in a massolution research report coming out soon.
It’s also important to note that there’s more exciting things happening across all crowdfunding platforms than we have time to cover. Many of them don’t bring in (or really even need) millions of dollars and don’t generate as many headlines. Rockethub, for example, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for important, science-based projects through its SciFund Challenge. Indiegogo has become the go-to place for instant fundraising in response to whatever is happening in the world, from the Connecticut school shooting to building a GoddamnTesla Museum or sending a bus monitor on a well-deserved vacation (or more likely retirement).
In perhaps the worst kept secret in venture history, SecondMarket and AngelList have teamed up to allow accredited investors to legally invest purely online on AngelList for the first time. Basically, it’s getting a head start on the JOBS Act while we wait for it to become law. It’s a far more conservative– and legal– approach than other early crowd funding efforts like FundersClub, because SecondMarket is an actual broker/dealer.
We got a preview of this last week, when we wrote about Transcriptic’s wild seed round — the first company that used the partnership to round out its already successful, mega seed round. Founder Max Hodak described the experience by saying, “The Internet was just trying to throw money at us.” He added, “I don’t know what (AngelList co-founder Naval Ravikant) and SecondMarket are doing but they are clearly where the money is.”
Not every company will have such a barn-burner of an experience, but SecondMarket and AngelList are trying to replicate what worked in that case. Like Transcriptic, they are handpicking only companies that have a strong, well-known lead investor already, an easy to understand business, and some sort of momentum.
Streamline the document preparation and disclosure process for the companies that want to pursue equity-based crowdfunding transactions through your brokerage or registered crowdfunding portal. With the average equity-based crowdfunding transaction raising approximately $85,000 (source, crowdsourcing.org), what is the legalbudget for preparing term sheets and definitive agreements to close the transaction? If the entrepreneurs who wish to crowdfund need to form a new entity, what is the legal budget for preparing the certificate of incorporation, bylaws and other corporate formative documents? What is the legal budget for the smaller transactions? Answer, a couple of thousand dollars, maximum. Otherwise, the transaction costs swallow the deal.
With our document generation API, VentureDocs integrates seamlessly with brokers and registered crowdfunding portals and delivers these key documents in execution form for a fraction of the cost of a corporate and securities attorney, and the customer never even has to leave the broker or crowdfunding portal’s site.
The startup has been looking for business development opportunities and ways to increase its reach, both among non-profits and startups. Crowdtilt is today adding another piece to its customer acquisition strategy with the (beta) launch of its API. With its new API in place, Crowdtilt now enables third-party developers and businesses to quickly tap into its group-payment capabilities.
Simply put, the startup’s API will provide an off-the-shelf solution to handle group payments, allowing developers to choose from a handful of popular payment processors, like Stripe, Balanced and Braintree, integrating that technology into their apps and products. The API also provides collaboration tools like comments, updates and messaging, enabling businesses to offer a group payment option during checkout, a pre-sales commerce option, as well as the ability to develop a social, crowdfunding application — either for single projects, like Lockitron, or multi-project models, a la Kickstarter.
Launch.it, the event news and social information management platform, announced today its partnership with the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the preeminent trade association for the consumer electronics industry, to power the official news channel for their Eureka Park exhibitors at the 2013 International CES®. Through this partnership, Eureka Park exhibitors will have their own branded news site providing all CES media, attendees and investors access to exhibitor company news, updates and announcements all in one, easy to search, central location. This platform ensures that the more than 130 startups exhibiting in Eureka Park at the 2013 CES, the world’s largest innovation event, can easily be found, discovered and shared before, during and after the event.
The Eureka Park TechZone is the premier destination at the 2013 CES where retailers, venture capitalists, manufacturers and other key attendee groups will find budding entrepreneurs, fledgling startups and homegrown innovation. Eureka Park is presented in partnership with the National Science Foundation and Startup America, an independent nonprofit entity launched at the White House in 2011 to help young companies succeed in order to accelerate job growth in America.
“Every great company starts with a eureka moment, a unique idea that launches the next must-have product or service. And through our partnership with CEA, we have ensured that you can now find these companies within their dedicated home in the Eureka Park TechZone and online through their dedicated interactive news site,” said Brian Cohen, CEO and Co-Founder of Launch.it. “I’ve worked at and attended CES for more than thirty years and it has been one of the best places to find these fledgling start-ups and diamond in-the-rough companies waiting to be discovered and make it big.”
A spot of consolidation in the crowded crowdfunding space today — which is surely ripe for plenty more convergence in the future. Two U.K. crowdfunding platforms, Crowdfunder andPeoplefund.it, have announced plans to merge, combining their technology and marketing platforms, branding, and teams to create a single entity with “its own distinct British and community feel,” the pair said. Combined they have more than over half a million unique monthly users and more than 20,000 registered users.
The move follows U.S. crowdfunding platform Kickstarter’s launch of U.K.-based projects back in October — which makes the ‘game of scale’ even more important for local platforms. “The merger of Crowdfunder and Peoplefund.it makes a huge amount of sense for UK projects that need funding,” said Crowdfunder founder Darren Westlake in a statement. “It will deliver scale, expertise, and marketing reach — essential for those projects who want the best funding platform possible.”
Peoplefund.it co-founder Simon Deverell also noted the arrival of crowdfunding’s ‘big fish’ into the U.K.’s small pond — but talked up the potential to add local flavour, noting in a statement: ”The international arrivals into the UK market are fantastic news as they grow and validate the market, however Peoplefund.it has a distinctly U.K. feel in line with our culture. It’s more local and community connected. It’s a great platform for entrepreneurs, socialpreneurs and civic-preneurs who want to make a difference. Peoplefund.it seeks to remodel the relationship between communities and UK enterprise – one street at a time.”