07 Jun 2016

Crowdfunding: For Love Or Money?

Gone are the days when only large companies or people with access to commercial investors can take an idea from concept to execution. Now anyone with a well thought out idea and plan can do it. All you need is a some help from of a group of small financial contributors, like you and I.

Crowdfunding opens up a whole world of possibilities for ideas that previously would not have seen the light of day. At its core, crowdfunding enables innovation and drives healthy market competition.

As a digital and tech geek at heart, I love nothing more than seeing a smart technology solution make a positive impact on society. The possibility of an idea being brought to life with a little help from like-minded individuals, who appreciate its value, is exciting.

At the same time, I love that I’m helping the creators keep ownership of their intellectual property so they can maintain control of their company and their product, without the need to use traditional commercial investors who have one thing on their minds – profits.

Over the years I’ve backed many tech projects. Some never garnered enough support to get off the ground (the market decides). A couple raised the funds, but failed due to shortcomings in their planning or production processes. But the vast majority have come to fruition, delivering something innovative that wasn’t previously in the market, acting as a springboard for success for the project founders.

More recently we’ve seen a sharp rise in crowdfunding as a tool for good. Using funding platforms to help people in need where charities don’t exist, or when government assistance doesn’t extend to cover medical bills or other desperately needed financial support. Community and public projects are also on the rise, whether that be a new community playground or the purchase of a private beachso it moves into public ownership for everyone to use. There is a tangible sense of positive collaboration, where many hands make light work, to achieve something incredible for the benefit of others.

My motivation to fund technology projects remains the same: I want to help creative, entrepreneurial individuals succeed, and I want their products and ideas in my life. But more recently, my motivation to back projects has expanded to include social causes’, where crowdfunding sites are used to help individual, families and communities in need, with no expectation of getting anything back.

There is something very rewarding and philanthropic about crowdfunding, whether it’s for a start-up venture or a social cause. You are able to genuinely help someone succeed and you benefit from the ‘feel good factor’ of giving or investing in something of personal value.

Here are a few of the ventures I’ve backed;

HiddenHUB – IoT connected, room sensing speakers
Abel Tasman Beach – we bought a beach!
Beam – a smart projector for any light socket
The Lucky Taco – a taco truck in your kitchen
Pulse – Your camera upgraded
HR “Finding Joseph I” documentary

So, if you want to see amazing things happen, get involved and throw your support behind a project or two. There are now countless crowdfunding  sites online now. Here are a few to get you started:

gofundme.com – social causes
givealittle.co.nz – social causes (over $50 million in donations to NZ causes since 2008!)
mycause.com.au – social causes
ozcrowd.com.au – social causes

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