Yesterday’s Crowdfunding Seminar By CJ Cornell of Propel Arizona at SMAZ6

At yesterday’s Social Media Arizona #smaz there were many speakers covering different social media related topics and the one that interested me the most was the Crowdfunding seminar presented by CJ Cornell of Propel Arizona

CJ Cornell is an ASU Professor and the founder of Propel Arizona.

In a nutshell, Propel Arizona is a Crowdfunding platform for Arizona Entrepreneurs.

But it’s much more than funding, Propel Arizona is a way to get all of Arizona involved with innovation, and helping to build the next Google, Apple or Facebook.

Propel Arizona is a broad initiative designed to help drive economic growth in the state of Arizona by providing an environment where people can support and help the entrepreneurial ventures, innovative ideas, projects and the entrepreneurs that build them.

Online, Propel Arizona allows entrepreneurs with projects or ideas that one day may be wildly successful, to engage with the community and enlist their support – financial support and other kinds of important support.

Specifically, Propel Arizona is about “Crowdfunding” entrepreneurs and innovative projects that have the potential to become wildly successful – perhaps in the Facebook-Google-Amazon kind of way that generates jobs, wealth and inspires even more entrepreneurs and new ventures.

Members of the Arizona community can get involved with the excitment of the entrepreneurial startup – from concept to product to market – and become early funders of promising projects.  In the end, helping these potentially high-growth entrepreneurial projects become successful, will help contribute to the overall economic growth and prosperity of all Arizona.  Every Propel Arizona member gets to fill out their own profile page (1), can add projects needing funding and post a blog post promoting their projects.

(1)

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Crowdfunding Risky but Rewarding (Venturebeat)

 

Illustration by Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Last month, Amazon pulled the plug on the e-book crowdfunding site unglue.it and a number of other similar sites. Amazon says it is no longer able to support certain crowdfunding or social fundraising sites, despite the wild success of Kickstarter, which was built on Amazon’s platform. (Kickstarter still utilizes Amazon.com payments, however.)

But why? Although standout campaigns have served as great proof-of-concept for crowdfunding’s worth, like the Pebble wristwatch raising $10.2 million on Kickstarterseemingly overnight, the challenges that come along with the medium are almost too overwhelming to enumerate.

To name a few:

 

  • Fraudsters capable of producing a slick video or business plan can now dupe thousands of people into buying vaporware or investing in a ghost company;
  • Incompetent entrepreneurs can fail to deliver on their promises, spending millions of dollars of other people’s money in the process;
  • Unsatisfied customers or investors can dispute their purchases or investments, amassing huge liabilities for the businesses, platforms, and payment processors;
  • Insecure and non-compliant platforms can risk cardholder data, misappropriate funds, and violate federal and state statutes.

I can’t necessarily blame Amazon for wanting to avoid the regulatory and compliance issues that come along with processing payments for other platforms. Amazon Payments, Google Payments, and PayPal (eBay) were built to support merchants within those respective marketplaces. It does not make sense to shift their focus to a more complex and labor-intensive niche, regardless of its promise.

 

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