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With crowdfunding still popular, Kickstarter competitor Indiegogo says it's exploring equity option
Crowdfunding is alive and kicking.
Kickstarter, the most well-known site for crowdfunding, announced this week that it saw its 100,000th successfully funded project.
The funded project, Falklands/Malvinas: One War, all Wars, aims to compile photos and testimonies from veterans and civilians that suffered through the Falkland war in the early 1980s.
To celebrate its 100K milestone, Kickstarter shared 100 other metrics demonstrating the scope of the platform, its impressive growth, as well as the nature of the community engaged on the platform. Some of the high-level stats with some context:
- Number of creative categories and subcategories represented on Kickstarter: 165 (Kickstarter specifically bills itself as a funding platform for creative projects, so you can submit projects in a range of categories, from art and comics to technology and theater.)
- While it took the site 121 days to see the first 100 successfully funded projects, the last 100 completed in three days. (The company launched in 2009 and raised $10 million from Union Square Ventures in 2011, but it appears to be growing quickly on its own now.)
- 86,101 people have launched successfully funded projects, and almost a tenth of those have launched more than one. More evidence of the communal nature of the platform is that 70.6 percent of successfully funded creators have also backed other Kickstarter projects.
- Over nine million people have pledged support to the 100,000 projects.
For comparison, the other big crowdfunding site, Indiegogo, says over 275,000 campaigns have been launched on its platform.
Indiegogo company doesn't share how many of those campaigns have been "successfully funded" because the service doesn't work in the same way as Kickstarter. On Kickstarter, a campaign must successfully raise its stated goal of funds for the fundraiser to receive the money; on Indiegogo, the fundraiser receives whatever funds are raised whether the goal is reached or not.
While Kickstarter is understood as the media darling of crowdfunding sites, Indiegogo has several unique attributes in addition to its flexible fundraising policy, including the ability to pay with PayPal, support for YouTube video uploads, and a stronger international presence. Indiegogo says 30 percent of its campaigns start outside the U.S.
Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo make money by taking a five percent cut of funds raised.
The big question is whether Kickstarter or Indiegogo will capitalize on newly adopted SEC rules allowing companies to offer and sell securities through crowdfunding. While the two big platforms focus today on either pure donations or funds given in exchange for various non-monetary rewards, more and more platforms are emerging that allow individuals to give money in exchange for equity.
In essence, it’s venture capital at crowd scale.
When I reached out to Indiegogo, I received this comment from their CEO Slava Rubin:
“All of us at Indiegogo are excited that the SEC is formally expanding the way in which everyone will be able participate in the entrepreneurial ecosystem through the amazing power of crowdfunding. We’re now exploring how equity crowdfunding may play a role in Indiegogo’s business model.”
A spokesperson at Kickstarter, on the other hand, told me they have no plans to offer equity crowdfunding. If Indiegogo ends up pursuing that route, it could be a big differentiator for them, though it's unclear what effect it would have on the overall crowdfunding market.
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IndieGoGo is a collaborative funding platform. Anyone with an idea (creative, cause, or entrepreneurial) can create a campaign on IndieGoGo, offer perks and raise the funds needed for execution - all while keeping 100% ownership. Customers range from artists (musicians, writers, filmmakers, etc.) who pre-sell their work as a way to fund it, to people raising money on behalf of charities to small businesses offering limited edition items or access to fund their start-up capital.
IndieGoGo launched the beta in 2008 within the film vertical. By 2009 IndieGoGo became the largest online film funding platform and brand. In 2010, IndieGoGo focused on further developing its funding tools and opened the platform to more verticals. Recent growth has been excellent at IndieGoGo including:
* Revenue up 24x in last year
* Funding projects from 134 countries
* 11,000+ projects
* Webby Award Nomination (versus Flickr, Vimeo & Digg)