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Crowdfunding with a local twist

Telecoms & Tech

We’ve written about social commerce before, with such sites as Fundable and ChipIn tapping people’s collective buying power to raise funds for a variety of purposes. In case you weren’t convinced this trend is taking hold, now there’s CrowdFunder, a Colorado-based site that picks up on the same basic idea but adds a local twist. CrowdFunder recently launched a beta site focusing on the Boulder area that aims to make it easy to collectively fund many kinds of community projects, charitable and otherwise. Fundable endeavours can range from giving to local nonprofits to refurbishing a playground to hosting a big party—only investment and business uses are prohibited. Current examples on CrowdFunder include establishing a scholarship for a local Boulder school, helping an artist finish recording her CD, installing bus-stop benches and supporting a 7-year-old local gymnast. People posting projects indicate a financial goal and deadline, and the site tracks how much is raised over time. As with Fundable, if the goal amount is not met by the deadline, all contributors get their money back. The entire process is free during the startup phase, but eventually CrowdFunder will charge a transaction fee of 7.5 percent of the funds raised for each project that succeeds in meeting its goal. CrowdFunder’s founders are banking on the site’s local focus to set it apart. They explain: “CrowdFunder is a platform that we believe works best locally, where people who know each other and can vouch for each other and see and enjoy each other’s works will have more confidence to make financial contributions to members of the community.” Though its pilot version is focused on Boulder, CrowdFunder ultimately aims to expand both geographically and topically in other directions. One to bring to a community near you? (Related: Crowdfunding software projects and Crowdfunding a cultural hub in Liverpool.) Spotted by: Theresa Duffy



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