[Gazette Profile] Changing the Crowdfunding Model with START.ac
Crowdfunding continues to grow exponentially with more platforms offering resources and support, as well as governments passing laws to make it more accessible. Both private sector businesses and third sector organisations are benefiting from the support of the crowd. A new platform, START.ac launched on 15th May 2012, aims to change the current crowdfunding model that will blend commercial projects with altruistic goals.
START.ac was founded by Rod Turner, a seasoned entrepreneur who played a key role in the formation of highly successful start-ups including software developers Symantec (brainchild of Norton Antivirus software) and the popular search engine AskJeeves. Over the last year or so Rod has called upon his extensive knowledge to develop a new crowdfunding platform aimed at helping start-up businesses and technological ventures. The platform offers an assortment of unique features which include;
The site's biggest addition however is the altruistic model aimed at supporting worthy causes. Project drivers looking for funding are generally charged 5% of their funding target, operating on the all or nothing model, for commercial projects but no charge will be made for non-profit ventures. Users can also opt to pay 6% of the funds raised of which 1% will be placed in the Pay it Forward Fund, with 25% of the total funds being allocated to the Pay it Forward Foundation and 75% to charities as voted by members. In the event of a large scale disaster such as a tsunami or earthquake special projects can be set up free of charge to raise funds for any foundations best suited to helping with relief efforts.
- The Inside Track TM enables funders to engage with projects they support
- CrowdAudition TM encourages the START.ac TM community to get involved offering feedback on projects up for submission as well as their selection
- START.ac TM offers a mentoring programme for project owners offering guidance and support from seasoned entrepreneurs and market leaders
- CrowdAccelerator TM benefits funded projects with continued dedicated involvement from the mentors
- STARTBusinessRewards TM offers rewards to project supporters based on company milestones.
START.ac, with its evolutionary model looks set to change the future of crowdfunding. Prior to launch the site's Facebook page had already received over 10,000 followers and word quickly spread over other social media sites including LinkedIn, Google + and Twitter. The future for crowdfunding lies in START.ac's goal to make virtualized funds, advice and resources available to support up and coming entrepreneurs to realise their maximum potential. This goal to aide entrepreneurs at a time when the world's economies are still teetering on the blink is equal to START.ac's altruistic commitment to effectively help those less fortunate.
The VC model is outdated. Investments are highly concentrated in Silicon Valley and similar VC clubs at the expense of 90% of the start-up opportunity across the US and around the world. In addition, current crowdfunding platforms are too narrowly focused in scope and geography. START.ac will democratise the industry in a way that is not yet being addressed. - Rod Turner, Co-founder & CEO START.ac
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