5 Cutting-Edge Ways to Crowdfund

The entrepreneurial-ideas site Springwise collects the most innovative new concepts in crowdfunding.
September 20, 2012 The great success of sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo has led to a surge in the number of crowdfunding services available. It’s easy to see the appeal for a variety of industries. Funding projects and seeking investment through traditional channels has often been a problem for small businesses and non-profits, while artists are struggling to turn their online exposure to their own advantage. Here we’ve picked out five of our favorite new crowdfunding ideas, from a range of industries.

1. BrickstarterThe Finnish crowdfunding site Brickstarter is designed to raise money for community projects. By encouraging citizens to take action into their own hands, rather than wait for the government to pick up civic projects, Brickstarter aims to increase the sense of a shared community. By mapping the ideas that generate the most response from their user base, local authorities and institutions can lend their support to the projects that are generating the most traction. Crowdfunding, in essence a communal activity, seems particularly well suited to these kinds of community-building ventures.

2. Smallknot Similar to Brickstarter, in that it focuses on local support and financing, Smallknot is a site that encourages businesses to appeal to their immediate customer base for financial backing. In the current economic climate, small businesses can struggle to find funding from traditional avenues. By offering rewards to the patrons of their establishment, businesses can quickly and cheaply raise the funds they require for expansion or maintenance. By establishing a financial and emotional connection between small businesses and their customers, Smallknot fosters a genuine sense of customer loyalty.

3. WatsiThis non-profit Watsi was established to fund low-cost, high-impact medical care in impoverished areas around the world. Cases are offered up on a person-by-person basis, creating a real connection between the action and the outcome. Micro-donations are used in the most efficient wato provide support for the chosen patient. The connection between patient and giver is strengthened by updates on the progress of the treatment.

 4. Pikup Pikup tries to tackle the problem of funding for musical artists. Finding an efficient method for media consumers to support the artists whose work they enjoy has been a longstanding challenge for the record industry. Pikup aims to provide a fair service for customers and artists. Software on a media device tracks the listening habits of the user. Each month the fee paid by Pikup users is split between the artists they have been listening to. This economic platform could show the way to a fairer deal for artists and consumers.

 5. Unglue.itWhile not as rife as in the music industry, piracy of books is becoming a serious issue. Unglue.it tackles a similar issue to Pikup. As more and more readers choose to move to digital media, this problem will only get worse. Unglue.it is trying to find a better solution to this problem than the often clumsy digital rights management (DRM) currently employed. At Unglue.it, rights holders can set a target price for their work to be published electronically DRM-free. This seems an elegant and simple way to avoid being short changed by digital piracy, while also allowing their audience more flexibility in how they enjoy the work.
Springwise is an independent new business ideas and innovation firm that seeks out the most promising new business ideas around the world.