Exeter based Crowdfunder was launched in November 2010 by serial entrepreneur Darren Westlake and digital marketing & strategy expert Luke Lang. With a strong background in Telecoms, Technology and Internet Darren has established, steered to success, and sold two businesses. Luke developed his marketing knowledge as a Digital Marketing Manager for a national Internet service provider and then moved on to become a self employed marketing consultant specialising in marketing strategy in digital and B2B marketing. Together they established their first crowdfunding platform.
Crowdcube was established as an online version of Dragon's Den providing a platform for budding entrepreneurs to secure funding from potential investors (or armchair dragons) in exchange for equity stakes. With the success of Crowdcube, and witnessing the increasing success of other platforms such as Kickstarter, Darren and Luke decided to set up a similar platform for the UK with a wider focus.
Since launching, Crowdfunder has received over 1,000 pitches for projects in need of funding. Whereas some platforms have tendencies to project be specific, Crowdfunder accepts pitches on a variety of project types from all over the world. Some of the projects currently seeking funding include an optical accessory enabling smartphones to capture 360° panoramic images, funds to produce a new album, and even a "fund my life" pitch to help an individual continue their Ph.D studies.
The application process is simple and whilst Crowdfunder, aims to make a decision on allowing a project to go live within 24 hours or less this is dependent on the level of input received from the project owners. Those looking to submit a proposal are encouraged to ask questions and provide as much information as possible to support their pitch including blog posts, twitter feeds, and website details. It is also recommended that the pitch owner funds a percentage of their own project. Crowdfunder works with the project owners offering guidance and suggestions on aspects such as the viability of rewards offered, and is always approachable should the project owners have questions.
Once a project goes live Crowdfunder continues to offer support and guidance, but also actively promotes its projects. This is done through the site's newsletter highlighting the latest pitches. Twitter and Facebook are updated regularly, and the site's featured pitches segment makes it easy for potential funders to browse through selections of projects in search of a worthy investment.
Crowdfunder has essentially taken an established model and made it internationally accessible by removing the shackles on the types of projects it considers thus attracting more prospects. The help and support it offers project owners, making it more of a collaborative process has helped over 150 of the 1000 pitches considered to go live. Since launching, Crowdfunder has raised over £50,000 for various projects plus a further £10,000 on those projects which have not reached their end date. With many more potential projects on the horizon Crowdfunder looks set help put the UK on the crowdfunding map.
Acknowledgements; Thanks to Rose Elliot of Crowdfunder for her input.
Image Credit; Crowdfunder, thematthewknot
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