Crowdfunding - Revolutionary Capital Formation

Web 2.0 continues disrupting industries and practices with the opportunity to create a better world. Crowdfunding, inspired by crowdsourcing, describes collective cooperation and trust by people who network and pool funds together, mainly via the Internet, to support individual or organizational initiatives. Crowdfunding occurs for any variety of purposes, from disaster relief to citizen journalism to charities, political campaigns and venture capital. This trend is yet another example of how new technologies will revolutionize the investment of funds in for profit and non-profit endeavors, eliminating the middle man while delivering greater accountability. Below is a list of crowdfunding examples and the video regarding "see the difference", a new web 2.0 platform used for crowdfunding for charities, is an excellent example of the practice.

See the difference introduction from Tom Hopkins on Vimeo.


  • Artemis Eternal - Upcoming sci-fi short film being produced independently by Jessica Mae Stover. The user is invited, in a cross-platform web experience, to donate (from $1 to $100) and join "The Wingmen" (whose members hail from students to homemakers to NASA employees and filmmakers) and help to fundraise the project. Filming for the movie is intended to start in 2009.
  • A Swarm of Angels is a Cinema 2.0 project to utilize a swarm of subscribers (Angels) to help fund, make, contribute, and distribute a £.1 million feature film, using the Internet and all digital technologies. It aims to recruit earlier development community members with the right expertise into paid project members, film crew, and production staff.
  • ActBlue is a Federal PAC that enables anyone — individuals, local groups, and national organizations — to fundraise for the Democratic candidates of their choice. Previously, only the most well-funded and technologically-savvy groups have employed these powerful fundraising methods. But with ActBlue, groups and individuals need only choose their candidates and make their solicitations. By providing all the technical, financial, and compliance systems, ActBlue enables every progressive organization and individual to make the most of their networks - rapidly raising otherwise untapped millions for Democrats in the closest races.
  • ArtistShare is a service for musicians to fund their projects outside the normal recording industry. It utilizes micropayments, to allow the general public to directly finance, and in some cases gain access to extra material from an artist. In 2004, Maria Schneider, became the first artist to win a Grammy, with an album distributed exclusively over the Internet. Distributed through ArtistShare she received four nominations for her album Concert in the Garden and won Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.
  • BeerBankroll is building a community managed brewing company where members will make many of the business decisions. It only costs $50 per year to become a member and be a part of something special.
  • Business Card Build-Off (part of A Million High Fives) is America's largest crowdfunded project designed with the mission of equipping those in need with the technology to be heard and providing supplies and needed items to charities and shelters across the country.
  • Cameesa is the first site breaking into 'Crowdfunding Fashion,' where it encourages participation in the clothing creation process.  Members decide which designs to print on T-shirts by supporting them financially.  Once a design is 100% funded, the members who supported the design, get a special edition of the t-shirt and earn everytime it is sold.
  •, ( Another service for creating pledge drives and campaigns to raise and distribute funds. Similar to but the main difference is that does not currently require a time limit to reach the target amount.
  • City Budget Watchdog is a project from the Public Press that aims to fund five independent journalists to cover the San Francisco city government to produce important reports not covered by the mainstream media.
  • "The Cosmonaut" (originally in spanish: "El Cosmonauta" (The Cosmonaut) is a feature film project by the spanish indie platform "Riot Cinema Collective". Is a sci-fi film in which anyone, from 2 Euros, becomes "producer", obtaining credit recognizement, a welcome gift pack and entering the raffle of an authentic soviet-era cosmonaut suit to be used in the film. Also, the project is licensed under Creative Commons' Attribution-Sharealike, so anybody can edit, remix, copy and freely distribute all the film materials, including all the scenes, which the creators have promised to publish in unedited HD.
  • CreateaFund  ( allows both individuals and organizations to collect money online. The site tightly integrates with services like PayPal and Facebook to ensure a cohesive donor experience from start-to-finish. Fund creators get customizable 'Donation Pages' where donors can keep tabs on a fund's progress, leave comments and invite others.
  • ( A service that allows fundraisers to create online person-to-person fundraising pages for any US non-profit. The funds are directly transferred to the non-profit which differentiates firstgiving from other services. 
  • Formosa Medical Travel is a niche oriented medical tourism facilitator dedicated to bringing uninsured Americans to Taiwan for medical care. They are currently seeking corwdfunding to finance their next expansion.
  • fundavlog fundavlog was an experimental project that attempted to sustain and/or incubate videoblog related projects and events by growing a Crowdfunded Network offering configurable 'payment pages' with simple funding functionality. Reciprocity and Transparency were critical in order to build a trusted attention network of people who are interested in the videoblog culture. Users deposit money into the fundavlog bank which they then can use to fund various types of entries submited by other users. The project blog was where the term 'crowdfunding' was coined (
  • ( A service allowing for the creation and management of fundable "group action" pages where pledges can be accepted. If a campaign does not reach its goal within a set time (14 or 25 days), then all pledges are negated and no money distributed.
  • ( Greedy or Needy (formerly Robin Hood Fund) is committed to fulfill as many everyday wishes for as many everyday people as possible. Anyone can submit a wish, and through the wisdom of crowds, wishes are fulfilled. Wishes are divided into two categories with one wish from heartfelt need and one wish from simple greed getting fulfilled. "The Robinhood Fund is different because we allow the crowd – not elite individuals such as a board – to decide which wishes should be granted." This is a Cambrian House project.
  • Have Money Will Vlog (,)is a project that involves a group of volunteers that act as advocates for vlog proposals. The advocates promote projects they believe in to potential donors, whether they are friends and family or reaching out to those who subscribe to their blogs and related mailing lists etc. It's a very intimate affair that relies on Crowdfunding to reach the pledge drive's goals. The first few projects have all been successful.
  • i am verity ( Fans can become a "future owner today" by helping to raise $80,000 for recording costs and charity benefits. In essence, the artist is asking people to buy an album before it exists... so that it can exist. Also, 5.3% of money earned will be used to help others succeed (vague). Another 5.3% of everything earned goes to "People Opposing Woman Abuse's" work in South Africa. Once the target of 5000 albums is sold, The hope is to increase the percentage put towards these charities and make a difference in South Africa.
  • IndieGoGo is an online social marketplace connecting filmmakers and fans to make independent film happen.  The platform provides filmmakers the tools for project funding, recruiting, and promotion, while enabling the audience to discover and connect directly with filmmakers and the causes they support.  Since launching at Sundance 08, filmmakers have successfully raised thousands of dollars with DIWO (Do-it-with-others) funding.
  • Kapipal ( enables anyone — individuals and organizations — to quickly create a crowdfunding page. It allows to crowdfund any project, e.g. a wedding registry or a money collection for a birthday.
  • ( A company that raises funding for businesses using the crowd funding concept, private placements are no longer only accessible for high net worth individuals and big institutions. A large group of small investors can together come up with the total capital a company need to execute its business plans.
  • PledgeBank ( while not exclusively for funding has often been used to make money online for various projects and charities. For example a person might pledge, "I will give $1000 to... zarada na internetu if 50 others will also pledge atleast $50."
  • ProjectFranchise ( is a group set out to 'Make Fantasy Sports a Reality' by charging $10 for each premium member, plus sponsorships, they seek to raise enough money to buy a minor league sports franchise and let the community vote on all major team decisions. The fans will have a say in everything from team name, mascot and logo to player personnel and game strategy to what is served in the concession stands.
  • SellaBand ( is a service for musicians and bands to promote their work in an effort to gain "believers" who will help to fund the production and distribution of an album. Believers must raise $50k in order to graduate the artists into contractual agreements. Believers can earn money back from ad revenue used in tandem with giving away the music for free online at sellaband's site.
  • Spot.Us is a site that allows independent journalists to crowdfund their freelance wages to produce news.
  • - Twollars is a currency of appreciation for Twitter. Twollars are designed to reward positive actions. You can give Twollars when someone helps you by tweeting useful information, sharing a tip, writing an inspiring Tweet or if you are just feeling generous. Besides giving them to people, you can benefit good causes on Twitter by sending them Twollars. Tweet your Twollars to a good cause.
  • Tangent - Tangent is a new video series that shows you how everything in the universe is related and reciprocal. We’re going to show you how. All these rivers and oceans are connected, you know.

    Tangent is also crowd-funded, meaning our production budget is partially paid for by our viewers.

    The idea evolved from many previous crowd-funding projects. It was conceived out of need, and the thought that through the energy, commitment, and investment of many, great things can be achieved. The concept is simple and low risk – through micro-funding, Creative Commons licensing, and shared IP ownership – online video can find the financial support it needs to be taken to the next level.

  • Trampoline Systems is the first technology venture to raise equity capital by crowdfunding. The London-based social analytics developer is raising £1 million from up to 100 investors with a minimum stake of £10,000. The Financial Times newspaper published a feature on Trampoline's initiative in July 2009.


The Conundrum for Innovation

Innovation is the solution to our most serious problems. We must do more with less in new ways . However, there are significant impediments to innovation as author and entrepreneur Sramana Mitra pointed out in her recent article an Innovation Conundrum. Much of this relates to the distortion of the relationship between risk and return.

Our capital system is a case in point: it compensates speculators disproportionately above creators. Compounded by significant risk-aversion, venture capitalists are acting like bankers, and Wall Street remains obsessed with quarterly results discouraging long term R&D. Hardly an environment for innovation. In distributing capital the middle men of Wall Street have been grossly over compensated for the service they provide - taking one group's money at one price and selling it to another group at a higher price. VC’s had been getting outrageous compensation in management fees, even when generating negative returns. As with many industries this is unsustainable because there is no value being generated. More importantly it drives away the opportunity for innovation because the need for immediate return and payment of middle men trumps the patience development requires and the rewards given to those who create it.

Eric Benhamou, former CEO of 3com recently commented that, “The preferred, risk-limited model of the venture capital industry will leave many important problems unsolved, many large-scale opportunities unaddressed and many radical innovators unfunded.” However, there is hope.

"A willingness to take intelligent risks and try something new is critical to both innovation and entrepreneurship. But the last decade has seen an increasing focus on short-term returns through risk taking without questioning or transparency to even understand the real level of risk. As a result, we replaced the foundation for real economic growth with the illusion of prosperity," writes Judy Estrin, a long-time entrepreneur and author of Closing the Innovation Gap. In the end a new system will emerge with the rewards of prestige and money increasingly going to the value creators, not the speculators. See Judy's brief outline of thinking about the Innovation Gap.

Jim Rogers - Plain Talk on Tough Economics Ahead

He’s the swashbuckling world traveler and legendary investor who made his fortune before he was forty. Now the bestselling author of A Bull in China, Hot Commodities, and Adventure Capitalist shares his views on the current economic problems faced by the U.S. and globally. Economics aren't so hard to understand coming from Mr. Rogers.

2009 - Where to Invest During This Wave of the Revolution

Scott Malpass, VP and manager for the University of Notre Dame's $6 billion endowment shares insights on investing in 2009. Scott observes, among other things, that international markets will outperform US equities, reflecting the rise of the rest, and that a present cautious approach should be adhered to with cash representing "at least" 30% or more of a portfolio. Watch this interesting interview to learn more.