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Crowdfunding helps authors get published

posted Jul 30, 2014, 9:41 PM by Siamak Ebarhimi   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 9:41 PM ]

Li Yang, a college student in Wuhan, Hubei province, has loved writing poetry since childhood, and he always wanted to publish his works.crowdfunding marketing

However, Li is not famous enough to attract publishers, and he can't afford to pay for the publishing by himself.

Last month, Li turned to a crowdfunding website to raise funds to publish his works.indiegogo marketing

He's not alone.

Although there are no official statistics on how many bids for publishing are on such websites around the country, or exactly how many millions of yuan have been pledged to those programs, there are more than 120 book-publishing programs on, among the country's popular crowdfunding platforms, with goals from 500 yuan ($81) to 1 million yuan.crowdfunding advertising

"Crowdfunding for books is a relatively new concept in China, but it's gaining a lot of popularity in a very short time," says Li Yaohui, senior executive at

The idea is simple: Potential readers can finance a book directly, in exchange for various value-added services at various pledge levels, such as signed books, meeting or even dining with the author, and getting access to important events related to the book, Li says.

Chen Liang, a young mother in Beijing, has spent months rewriting Flowers in the Mirror, a 300,000-word ancient-Chinese-language myth novel, into plain modern Mandarin for her own child. She recently decided to publish the book so that more children will be able to enjoy the inspiring ancient tale.kickstarter marketing

She promoted her idea on a crowdfunding website on July 25, and in two days, she got more than 200 backers and received pre-orders worth 4,100 yuan at

Yi Lang, a post-80s Suzhou resident in Jiangsu province, launched a crowdfunding program to raise funds to publish a book, Traveling Is an Earnest Thing.kickstarter project

Yi also runs an online group of 180,000 participants on the social network website, and the book is a collection of the group members' articles on their travel experiences.CrowdFunding advertizing

His goal was 22,000 yuan, but he ended up with more than 24,500 yuan at, another crowd-funding website.

The list is endless, as authors are now flocking online to raise funds and generate buzz for their new books.CrowdFunding marketing

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By David Khorram

The Magic Bullet of Crowdfunding

posted Jul 30, 2014, 9:40 PM by Siamak Ebarhimi   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 9:40 PM ]

I am not against crowdfunding. I think it's great for funding small projects including art, community projects, and even to develop a new product. Crowdfunding gives people an opportunity to help get a project or company going with an initial injection of capital from the public (or, perhaps a group of wealthy individuals). However, I think people are starting to confuse equity crowdfunding with investing. Similarly, I think some entrepreneurs are starting to believe that they can completely replace the traditional fund raising process with crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is not a magic bullet for the startup world.
crowdfunding marketing

If you're thinking about investing via a crowdfunding platform, do it with only money you can afford to lose, and realize that you have a high probability of losing your money.

If you're thinking about raising money via crowdfunding, carefully consider the downside and limitations of crowdfunding. The amount of money which you can raise is probably limited, and you may have to spend lots of your time dealing with investors.

The investor perspective: Crowdfunding has undeniable appeal. Who doesn't want to get in on the "ground floor" on the next Facebook? Or, go out to a restaurant in which you're a part owner? There is an emotional reward and excitement to investing in a business.crowdfunding advertising

But, there are several problems with this early stage investing. First is most new businesses fail. Within five years of starting, around half of all new businesses fail.Second, even if the business which you invest in doesn't fail, there is no guarantee that you will receive any financial reward or will be able to sell your investment. The business may not generate profits to pay investors, or may reinvest everything back into the business. If the business does succeed from a financial standpoint, it does not always result in the initial investors reaping a big reward. For example, a business may require additional funding, and give the new investors a deal which provides them most of the upside.

I haven't gotten into the technical problems with crowdfunded investments. The initial valuation for the businesses is generally being set by the companies themselves. While investors can choose not to invest, or negotiate, they probably don't have an extensive enough knowledge of current market conditions to determine a fair valuation. Secondarily, the terms and conditions of the investment may not be favorable. Will an investor putting in $10,000 spend $4,000 having a lawyer going over documents and try to negotiate different terms?indiegogo marketing

The company perspective: I don't think most CEOs of early stage companies like raising money. Even getting the attention of a venture capitalist can be very difficult. The due diligence process takes an enormous amount of time and can seem to last forever. There is also the issue of control. Most venture capitalists want to have a some influence over major company decisions. Crowdfunding would appear to be a way to quickly raise money without having to give up control of the company.

Plus, there is an added bonus. Getting customers to become owners can establish greater loyalty and potentially create brand evangelists. I saw this effect up close and personal after I bought my nephew a single frame share of the Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams) around his 21st birthday. For a while, I remember Sam Adams becoming his favorite high end beer.kickstarter marketing

There are a couple major problems with having lots of individual investors. First, they expect that you will keep them informed of the progress of the company. Many of them will have questions and expect timely responses. More investors means more time (or expense) handling investor relations. The CEO of BucketFeet, which early on raised money through crowdfunding, indicated that he probably wouldn't have done it had he known the time investment it would entail. His remarks were made during a Q&A session during the most recent Chamber of Commerce -Small Business Summit.

During the same event, the CEO of CheezBurger put forward another reason for getting venture capitalists involved. They provide more value than just money. They have resources, connections and advice which can speed up the company's growth.kickstarter project

Lastly, there seems to be a limit as to the amount of money that most companies can raise through crowdfunding. I just took a look at recently funded deals through one of the more popular platforms, Fundable. In looking at dozens of successful deals, I could only find one company that raised more than $2 million dollars. A glance at other platforms confirmed that companies were not raising, or trying to raise, large amounts for investment. These are primarily companies getting their first round of capital. What happens when a company needs to raise a bigger round? Well, they are probably going to need to find an institutional investor to provide it. In other words, they might end up with the worst of both worlds. Many individual investors demanding their time and institutional investors demanding control.

That said, I think there are some situations in which crowdfunding makes sense. For example, every once in a while I think about owning a professional sports team, a professional women's soccer team to be specific. This is a business that I don't think a venture capitalist would be interested in backing given the historical failure rate of such ventures. Furthermore, creating a tight relationship with a fanbase would be critical to success. If I wanted to raise money for this, I think crowdfunding would be a good option.

What are some other options for funding a very early stage business? Here is an article that I wrote recently for Fit Small Business.CrowdFunding advertizing

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By David Khorram

Crowdfunding helps budding Chinese authors get published

posted Jul 30, 2014, 9:39 PM by Siamak Ebarhimi   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 9:39 PM ]

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Ms Chen Liang, a young mother in Beijing, has spent months rewriting Flowers In The Mirror, a 300,000-character novel written in archaic Chinese, into plain modern Mandarin for her child.

She recently decided to publish the book so that more children will be able to enjoy the inspiring ancient tale. But she probably won't need to come up with her own money: Ms Chen promoted her idea on a crowdfunding website on July 25, and in two days, she got more than 200 backers and received pre-orders worth 4,100 yuan (S$827.06) crowdfunding marketing

She is but one of many budding authors who are turning to crowdfunding, or online fund-raisers, to pool resources from supporters - most of whom are strangers - in order to publish their books.

Although there are no official statistics on how many publishing projects are seeking funding through this channel, or exactly how many millions of yuan have been pledged to such programmes,, one of China's popular crowdfunding platforms, alone has more than 120 book-publishing projects with goals from 500 yuan to 1 million yuan.crowdfunding advertising

"Crowdfunding for books is a relatively new concept in China, but it's gaining a lot of popularity in a very short time," says Mr Li Yaohui, a senior executive at

The idea is simple: Potential readers can finance a book directly, in exchange for various value-added services at various pledge levels, such as signed books, meeting or even dining with the author, and getting access to important events related to the book, Mr Li says.

Mr Yi Lang, from Suzhou, Jiangsu province, launched a crowdfunding project to raise funds to publish a book, Traveling Is an Earnest Thing.indiegogo marketing

Mr Yi runs a hobby group of 180,000 members on the social network website, and the book is a collection of the group members' articles on their travel experiences.

He had targeted 22,000 yuan for his crowdfunding effort, but ended up with more than 24,500 yuan at, another crowdfunding website.

Recently, a book named Crowdfunding: The Revolution And Innovation Of Traditional Funding, published by China Machine Press, received wide attention.

The book, written by three Internet observers and Internet company executives, discusses the history of crowdfunding in both China and abroad, as well as describing classic crowdfunding cases and a how-to guide.kickstarter marketing

The book itself is a product of crowdfunding.

In April, the publisher set up a fundraising page at, and offered to provide various rewards, including the published book and a membership that gives holders varying degrees of access to resources of the publishing house based on the sum pledged.

Within two weeks, the publisher raised more than 80,000 yuan, meeting its financial goal and generating news coverage with its success.

Mr Li Xin, an editor with Chemical Industry Press who has overseen the company's book crowdfunding projects, says that for publishers, the promotion effect is "way more important" than the cash crowdfunding can generate.

Mr Li Yaohui, the executive, agrees.kickstarter project

In mid-2013, he suddenly noticed that nearly all of his friends on WeChat, a popular instant-messaging service in China, were talking and posting about a book titled The Benefits of Social Network, which talks about the online networking.

At that time, few people had heard about crowdfunding, and the book was among the very first crowdfunding programmes to raise 100,000 yuan.

The author offered backers signed books and an opportunity to have afternoon tea with him.

The book and his author soon made news headlines and became famous even before it was published. In two weeks, the book got 3,300 pre-orders.

Within a month after publication, the book sold 100,000 copies.CrowdFunding advertizing

Besides being a promotional tool, Mr Li Yaohui concludes, crowdfunding can also help book producers to better understand potential readers, and to predict the market response.

"It is very useful for a publisher if there is a way to better know how many copies a book should be published on first round of print," Mr Li says. "Crowdfunding certainly can help with that."crowdfunding websites

Posted from:

By David Khorram

Crowdfunding project aids caretaker

posted Jul 30, 2014, 9:38 PM by Siamak Ebarhimi   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 9:38 PM ]

Sonny Hodge is a sentry of sorts. The volunteer security guard for Noon Day Ministries spent the past two years keeping an eye out on the First Baptist Church property located at Central and Broadway. It will be the future home of UNM’s community initiative called Innovate ABQ, a project designed to revitalize downtown Albuquerque and spur economic growth in the city and state.CrowdFunding marketing

The church and its affiliated day program, Noon Day Ministry, which feeds homeless folk in the area, relocated to new facilities. During the process, an unusual situation developed as a result of the purchase of the property. UNM recently discovered that Hodge, who lived
at the property to keep an eye on the church and to prevent vandalism, would also be in need of a new home.CrowdFunding advertizing

Noon Day Ministry, a nonprofit community program established in 1982 to meet the needs of homeless individuals and families through its feeding program, the largest such program in New Mexico, occupies Noon Day Center, which is part of the First Baptist Church property recently purchased by STC and located just west of the church building. Noon Day also provides many other service programs for the homeless and relies solely on contributions from the public, businesses, and churches (including First Baptist), and other organizations to fund its operations and programs. CrowdFunding marketing

Noon Day also relies on volunteers to staff its many activities and services. Some of the volunteers are also homeless. For approximately two years, Noon Day relied on Hodge, a very loyal, disabled homeless client who serves as their security person for the buildings on the property. Danny Whatley, director of Noon Day Ministries, said Hodge has been adept at patrolling the buildings at night, driving off would be vandals, burglars and squatters. 

“I’ve instructed him to call me or the police if there’s trouble,” Whatley said. “A few years ago the church had a major break-in and also a fire that did some damage to the building so having Sonny on site at night has really helped us.”  The church allowed Hodge to live in a room at the church so that he can make his rounds periodically at night.  Kickstarter Marketing

Of course, now that ownership of the church has changed hands, Hodge, who has been living with Whatley and his family, can no longer live at the church. Considering his disability from a brain injury that has limited his ability to work, Hodge would probably not do well living on his own.

“Sonny suffered a brain injury several years ago, is disabled and not had regular employment for many years,” Whatley explained. “He has a sister in Alabama, but no family here. Sonny and his siblings were adopted out as kids. We’d like for him, and Sonny wants to continue, to be our security person at our new facility. Since we’re a day program providing meals and service,s but not beds for the local homeless population, we need to find accommodations for Sonny.” Indiegogo Marketing

To help Hodge continue his duties at their new facility, a crowdfunding project,The Sonny Project, has been created to help raise money so Noon Day can buy a used trailer for Hodge. Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. Noon Day’s goal is to purchase a used camper for Hodge to live in at their new facility, which they will be moving into this fall.

"As the new owners of the property, STC.UNM and UNM felt it was the right thing to do to raise funds to help Noon Day buy the trailer," said Lisa Kuuttila, president and chief executive officer, STC.UNM. "This crowdfunding project is hosted by Main Street Crowd and we encourage the UNM community to go to the site and make a donation in any amount.”crowdfunding websites

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By David Khorram

Crowdfunding sector growing some grey hairs

posted Jul 30, 2014, 9:36 PM by Siamak Ebarhimi

A good way of measuring how the real estate crowdfunding industry has changed in the past months is to count gray hairs.

Last winter, it was hard to find anyone over 40 at the nascent industry’s conferences. Now, a noticeable influx of distinguished real estate executives, along with their firms, is changing the field.crowdfunding marketing

Since its inception, real estate crowdfunding has been dominated by young tech entrepreneurs with lofty visions of democratizing investment and little ties to the industry establishment. This dominance is starting to fray.

In April, the decades-old real estate investment banking firm, Carlton Group, announced the launch of its own crowdfunding platform.
Last week, Nicholas Schorsch’s integrated finance behemoth RCS Capital followed suit. A number of mortgage and finance brokerages in New York City are now cautiously talking about launching their own platforms.
crowdfunding advertising

This influx raises questions over the future of crowdfunding. Observers have long agreed that most crowdfunding startups will fail, leaving a few big players behind. It suddenly seems possible that these big players won’t be successful startups, but firms that have already been dominating real estate finance for decades.


One distinct advantage established firms have over their startup rivals is scale. “We will raise $12 billion by traditional means this year, are based in Manhattan, and have occupied eight floors of our building,” said Michael Weil, president of RCS Capital Corporation (RCAP).

Weil hopes that these existing structures will help RCAP’s new crowdfunding platform “We R Crowdfunding” – set to launch in September – generate higher returns than its rivals. The platform will also give crowdfunding investors access to RCAP’s 9,200 financial advisors, and real estate is only one of the many asset classes it will offer.indiegogo marketing

“This was a great time to enter the space and, frankly, to add some structure to something that doesn’t have the typical boundaries our industry is used to,” Weil said, explaining that he currently sees a lack of financial expertise in the somewhat unregulated crowdfunding field.

Scale has become more important as crowdfunding firms have started to look at bigger deals. Initially, startups like iFunding, Fundrise or Patch of Land mainly offered equity investments in single-family homes with a total deal volume of less than $1 million to a large number of retail investors.kickstarter marketing

But in an attempt to grow their businesses and tap into larger returns, some startups are now looking to partner with institutional investors and high-net-worth people to invest in large commercial buildings or portfolios.

IFunding’s CEO William Skelley told Real Estate Weekly that the firm is shifting its focus from single-family homes to larger commercial buildings, and is offering wealthy family investors the chance to invest a large sum in a portfolio of buildings. Patch of Land has been pursuing a similar strategy, and both startups are now looking to bring in institutional investors.kickstarter project

These shifts in strategy mean crowdfunding is becoming a bit more similar to traditional real estate finance, which inevitably gives established firms an advantage. After all, RCS Capital or Carlton already have the strong ties to wealthy families and institutional money that startups are hoping to build, and have an easier time raising large sums of money.CrowdFunding advertizing

But while scale and connections favor established firms, crowdfunding startups also have lot going for them — for example image.
Startups have the advantage of not being associated with Wall Street, said iFunding’s William Skelley. “It’s very difficult (for established firms) to get traction because of the bad taste people have in their mouths from five or six years ago,” he argued.


Young, middle-class Americans might be more willing to invest through a young startup.

Moreover, startups have already amassed a sizeable pool of retail investors since real estate crowdfunding became de-facto legalized last September.CrowdFunding marketing

IFunding says it currently has 4,000 investors registered on its site, and it would take a lot of effort for newer entrants to achieve a similar following.

And while RCAP’s platform will offer accredited investors the chance to commit smaller sums of money, Carlton’s platform requires a minimum individual investment of $1 million.Kickstarter Marketing

Some mortgage brokerages will also be likely to gear their future platforms to institutional money and wealthy individuals, in effect taking the crowd out of crowdfunding. This means startups are still bound to dominate the market for small-time investors.


Rodrigo Nino, head of Manhattan-based crowdfunding startup Prodigy Network, doesn’t see firms like Carlton as competition.

“They have worked with institutional money and will continue to do so, so they shouldn’t call it crowdfunding,” he said. “It’s a valid strategy, but is that any different from what they’ve already done?”

Still, if more firms follow RCAP’s lead and build platforms for smaller retail investors, they could pose a serious challenge — not only to startups, but to our understanding of creative destruction.Indiegogo Marketing

Crowdfunding pioneers like Skelley see themselves at the forefront of creative destruction — meaning a phase when firms (usually startups) introduce a new technology that ends up transforming an entire industry. The theory of creative destruction argues that established firms tend to have a harder time adapting to the new technology and will go in decline, leaving the field to new players.

In a recent piece in the New Yorker, historian Jill Lepore questioned this assumption, arguing that established firms are more adept at embracing new technology than commonly thought and often survive a wave of technological innovation with their dominance intact.

While economists debate over Lepore’s essay, real estate crowdfunding offers a timely case study. As it stands, its result is still far from certain.

One thing we do know is that crowdfunding is bound to become more important in real estate finance.

Carlton’s COO Kevin Swill expects more real estate finance firms to open crowdfunding platforms in the near future. “I’d rather they didn’t do it and let me be the only one who does it, but I think they will,” he said. “I think it’s like anything else: if something is working everyone will jump on the bandwagon. What’s the downside, really?”crowdfunding websites

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By David Khorram

Crowdfunding the Olympic Dream

posted Jul 30, 2014, 9:35 PM by Siamak Ebarhimi   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 9:35 PM ]

BRADENTON -- Palmetto native Alexis Love hopes to compete in the next Olympic Games. After qualifying for the Olympic Trials and then the semi-finals in 2012, Love missed the cut for the London games by only fractions of a second. The world class sprinter is determined to ensure that she makes it to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for 2016 and has started a fundraiser through the athlete crowd funding platform Dreamfuel to raise money for her Olympic-sized goals.
crowdfunding marketing

“Missing the trip to London impacted me greatly; it made me hungrier for success,” says 23-year-old Love. “Knowing that I was a junior in college competing at the Olympic Trials gave me that extra push to follow my dream of becoming a member of Team USA.”


Love first discovered her interest in running during her first year of middle school. She attended an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) practice with a friend when she was 12. By the end of high school, she was competing at district, regional and state levels for Palmetto High.crowdfunding advertising

Love was named All Area Female Track Athlete of the Year in 2009 and earned a full athletic scholarship to Murray State University, where she was named Athlete of the Year in 2012. She also broke the Ohio Valley Conference outdoor record for the 20-meter dash in 2012 and the stadium record in the 100-meter dash in addition to numerous school records.
indiegogo marketing

While at Murray State, Love earned a degree in Criminal Justice. She currently lives in Fort Worth, Texas and trains with New Era Spring Club. A typical day of training consists of a warm-up, agility practice, sprints and technique, followed by a trip to the gym. Through all of her training and competitions, Love hopes to become one of the fastest female sprinters in the world, in addition to gaining an Olympic title.
kickstarter marketing


“Above all else,” she says, “I would like to inspire young female athletes by being an example of how hard work pays off and that it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what kind of environment you were raised in. You can make something out of nothing. I want them to say ‘I can do it because Alexis Love did it.'”

The campaign platform Dreamfuel aims to help professional and elite athletes raise money through crowd funding. They take into consideration that not all Olympians and Olympic hopefuls have official sponsors. Love’s campaign will run for about two months. She plans to use the funds for pre-season training this summer for equipment such as training shoes, spandex and tights.
kickstarter project

To contribute to Love's campaign and help a local athlete on her journey to sport's grandest stage, visit her Dreamfuel page.

Join the conversation post Facebook comments here or on our site at the bottom of article.CrowdFunding advertizing

Posted from:

By David Khorram

Crowdfunded degrees: the perfect solution for Generation Sell Yourself

posted Jul 30, 2014, 9:33 PM by Siamak Ebarhimi   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 9:34 PM ]

Crowdfunded degrees mean further education could soon become the preserve of those who are loudly able to sell themselves rather than the quietly academic, writes Theo Merz

Say you were offered a place on the Master’s course of your dreams, but couldn’t afford the £26,000 course costs. From there, you would have a choice: delay your studies for years and work to scrape the money together, or find a group of willing people to donate, which would allow you to start the Master’s immediately.CrowdFunding advertizing

It was a choice outlined for us yesterday by Emily-Rose Eastop, the Oxford graduate who was accused of being “a posh brat” after setting up a crowdfunding campaign to cover her fees for an MA (again at Oxford) in cognitive and evolutionary anthropology. “It’s no secret that the public will crowdfund all manner of projects and campaigns,” she wrote. “If the online community is prepared to fund a potato salad, or a pizza museum, then why not a Master's degree?

“I’ve accepted [donors’] assistance gratefully, in exchange for a year-long commitment of making it worth their while. I will be communicating everything I learn during the course of my Master’s - so they can learn it, too. Those people who don’t find my motivation compelling enough? They’re not the kind of people I’m expecting to get involved in the first place.”

The human sciences graduate has so far won enough people round to raise £16,000 towards her fees, and her article yesterday seemed to convince readers, with many of them praising her initiative in below-the-line comments. She wasn’t hurting anyone; you would have done the same in her situation. It’s a compelling case and almost enough to melt the hearts of those whose instinctive reaction to requests via websites like GoFundMe is to tell the requestee to GoF---Themselves.CrowdFunding marketing

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

So - good on Eastop. If her enthusiastic appeal video is anything to go by, she’ll throw herself into her studies when she arrives at Wadham College in October. She’s done whatever it takes to fulfil her dreams, which naturally appeals to a generation raised on the X-Factor.Kickstarter Marketing

But in praising her initiative and donating to her campaign, we’re not just helping one young woman achieve her ambition. We’re making an implicit statement about the way further education should be funded: that if you’ve got the personality to sell yourself and carry off a slick YouTube video, you are somehow worthy of a place on a Master’s course. Meanwhile, those who are equally gifted but more quietly academic - less obviously saleable - will have to delay their studies or give up on them all together.

The photogenic and confident leapfrog the shy even in academia, an area where the latter might otherwise be allowed to thrive. (Eastop is photogenic, as the image above demonstrates - and if we’re comfortable with using what we have to get what we want, it shouldn't be a problem pointing this out.) Over on another crowdfunding site, the less obviously media-friendly Nick Gaven has raised £700 towards a Master’s at Oxford, a fraction of what Eastop has managed.

And away from crowdfunding sites altogether, hundreds of would-be students are turning down their places either because they lack a strong enough “personal brand” to fuel a viral campaign or because they object to what they see as “e-begging”.Indiegogo Marketing

I called PR man and branding expert Mark Borkowski to talk about this trend towards crowdfunding in education, expecting him to tell me to ditch these romantic notions about academia and accept that personal branding is now key in all areas of our life. But even Borkowski, who has made a living out of packaging people into saleable units, regrets how far this culture has now spread.

“It’s like Big Brother, as in Endemol rather than Orwell” he said. “People who can make a good video and play the system will do well, but I feel sad that the geeks and quiet academics will suffer. Personality plays a huge part in life, but not everyone can become a media brand. This is very troubling for the people who can’t, who aspire to a probably brilliant but quiet life in academia.”

We should thank websites GoFundMe for helping to ensure postgraduate studies are no longer the preserve of the rich (while noting that these crowdfunding sites are not charities; they take a cut of all donations made, making it more cost effective to go directly to potential donors if possible). It's now the rich and the saleable who get first dibs on Master's degrees. If only priority were given to the best.crowdfunding websites

Posted from:

By David Khorram

Crowdfunding in Ukraine's DIY war

posted Jul 30, 2014, 9:29 PM by Siamak Ebarhimi   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 9:29 PM ]

Public donations are helping the Ukrainian government's war effort as troops try to close in on pro-Russian separatists in the east.
Money and supplies are reaching the military via Facebook groups, websites, text messages and volunteer organisations.Less than a month after then President Viktor Yanukovych fled to Russia, the defence ministry issued an appeal for help for the impoverished armed forces.Over the next four months, $11.7m (£6.85m) was reportedly donated - including $2.8m from mobile phones, by people sending text messages to a special number, 565, set up by the defence ministry.crowdfunding marketing

Online campaigns

As it became obvious that Ukraine's military lacked even the most basic supplies, activists set up many online groups to collect and deliver donations to the army.

Wings Phoenix has become one of the most popular. "Our task is to provide the Ukrainian army with clothes and shoes, protect and improve it as soon as possible," says the group's mission statement. It has more than 35,000 followers on Facebook and claims to have collected more than $850,000 (£500,000).crowdfunding advertising

A hand-drawn picture that came with a pair of donated boots

The type of goods donated is almost entirely non-lethal, ranging from food, medicines and toiletries to bullet-proof vests, helmets and binoculars.

There have even been reports in Ukrainian media about members of the public giving the army their own armoured personnel carriers, which had apparently been bought as surplus military equipment.indiegogo marketing

Some of the donations go directly to individual soldiers. Activist Nataliya Vetvitskaya, who has 16,000 followers on Facebook, visits wounded soldiers in hospitals and then posts their bank details online so that money can be transferred directly into their accounts.

Fans of football club Dnipro set up a donation point in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk and groups have been sending activists to supermarkets to encourage shoppers to buy and donate food on the spot.

The donations are then delivered by volunteers to military units involved in fighting in the east. Facebook group Army SOS gives details of how the money is spent, posting photos of goods being delivered to military units in the field.kickstarter marketing

T-shirts for troops

Some groups are more specialised. One Facebook community is dedicated to making and supplying the army with bullet-proof vests, and another to procuring medicines.

Luta Sprava focuses on t-shirts, which seem to be in short supply in the army, too. "There is no such thing as too many t-shirts for our guys," is its motto. "Buy one t-shirt for yourself, and another will be presented to a soldier."

Many, if not most, discussions in online groups helping the Ukrainian army are in Russian. Yet officials and media in Moscow have suggested that Russian speakers in Ukraine are being threatened by the military and need protection.kickstarter project

Posted from:

By David Khorram

Hoboken-based writer/actor seeks crowdfunding to finish first feature

posted Jul 30, 2014, 9:27 PM by Siamak Ebarhimi   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 9:28 PM ]

A new comedy that showcases Hoboken’s talented actors and charming landscape could be coming to theaters and film festivals nationwide soon—if it can earn almost $57,000 in pledges before Aug. 6.
crowdfunding marketing

“Cassanova Was A Woman,” the first feature film from Hoboken resident Jezabel Montero and her production company, has already raised $8,093 in an online Kickstarter campaign, but it remains well below the $65,000 needed to pay for post-production.

In the semi-autobiographical film, Montero stars as Cassanova Canto, an actress in New York City who struggles to make her big
break without losing—or co-opting—her Cuban-American identity. At the same time, Cassanova falls in love with another woman while still married to her husband, and must battle her conservative family and her own subconscious.
crowdfunding advertising

The movie deals with the inherent problems of “pigeonholing someone into a box of what you expect them to be just by looking at them.” As a Latina with blond curly hair and blue eyes, Montero is particularly attuned to this issue.
“People just want to escape, but when you use humor, people listen more.” – Jezabel Montero
Even as it touches on heavy subjects, “Cassanova Was A Woman” tries to maintain a light touch. It is both an exploration of an LGBT awakening and a broad sex comedy about a woman who hallucinates a naked man following her around.indiegogo marketing

“When you send a message and you talk about a ‘issues movie,’” Montero said, “people just want to escape, but when you use humor, people listen more.”

Deep local roots

Montero runs Fuacata Films, the production company behind “Cassanova,” out of her apartment in Hoboken. Fuacata is a nearly untranslatable Spanish interjection that denotes an impact, which is exactly what Montero hopes her films will have.

She was born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, but has lived in Hoboken for the past fifteen years while working as an actor in New York City. Montero says what has kept her here, besides a great rent-controlled apartment, is “the idea that you’re in the city but away from the city.”
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“You get to shop, you get the deals, you get the delis, the pizzerias, the coffeeshops…but you don’t have to be in the crazy hustle bustle of Manhattan,” she explained.

Montero took advantage of Hoboken’s there-but-not-there feel when she was filming “Cassanova Was A Woman.” Though the film is set in New York City and Miami, many scenes are filmed in Hoboken. Restaurant scenes were shot at Café Ganache in northern Hoboken and Charrito’s in Weehawken, and Cassanova’s meetings with her therapist take place in the offices of Dr. Maria Gonzalez. Some apartments in Hoboken were also used for interior scenes.
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Montero is not the only lead actor in “Cassanova” who hails from Hudson County. Margo Singaliese, who plays Cassanova’s friend and love interest Lola, is also a Hoboken resident, and co-star Monica Steuer lives in Jersey City.

The cast also boasts internationally known Cuban soap opera star Zully Montero, and actor Paolo Andino, who recently played Dan on Modern Family.
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Six-year process

Montero began writing the screenplay for “Cassanova” in 2008. When she sold out a one-night staged reading of the script with her theater company at Hoboken’s Monroe Center for the Arts in 2009, Montero had a feeling she was on to something.
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After a Golden Palm award for best screenplay at the Mexican International Film Festival and a five-night run for the film’s adapted stage version at the New York City International Fringe Festival, Montero knew it was time to make her movie.

With limited money from investors in hand, she began her “super-low-budget” production in January 2014. Actors took pay cuts or worked for free in hopes of keeping the budget in black. Unfortunately, by July Montero’s seed funds had run out, with two more scenes, editing, scoring, sound design, and color correction still to be done.

Montero and director Kevin Arbouet decided to try to make up the rest of the cash through crowdfunding. They launched their Kickstarter campaign on July 7, and have received contributions from 144 backers as of press time. The highest individual pledge so far has been $1,000.
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On Kickstarter, Montero and company are offering a variety of rewards for increasing levels of contribution. For example, those who pledge $100 or more will receive special thanks in the credit, while those who pledge $5,000 or more will get a walk on speaking role in one of the final scenes still to be shot.

Montero hopes the film will be ready to submit to major film festivals and screen in places like Hoboken this fall. “We want to have screenings here in Jersey to show where the money went and to show our support for all the people who supported us,” she said.
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Posted from:

By David Khorram

Four Canadian Crowdfunding Campaigns Worth Watching This Week

posted Jul 30, 2014, 9:26 PM by Siamak Ebarhimi   [ updated Jul 30, 2014, 9:26 PM ]

It’s that time of the week when we look at what creative ideas Canadians are raising money to support.crowdfunding marketing

Check out these Canadian crowdfunding picks-of-the-week:

Everyday Watch

If you’ve ever felt your fashion possibilities are limited by your watch, this crowdfunding campaign has a solution for you. With two face designs and five easy on and off band styles, there are a total of 10 possible combinations to choose from. Get a multitude of timepieces for the price of one.crowdfunding advertising

A small battery-operated device, the can be immersed in any liquid to search for drugs. It’s meant to be used in settings where the user suspects their drink has been tampered with. In some cases, the device can even identify what the drug is specifically. At only 8
cm in length and 6 mm thin, it is discreet and easy to carry.indiegogo marketing


Two amazing technologies unite! Use a 3D printer to make a hydroponic system to grow fresh organic food in your own home. The design and community are free, you just have to pay for the materials needed to print the equipment. Help 3Dprintler Labs create their online community.kickstarter marketing


London-based company, Ideas Un Limited is trying to change our reliance on two-dimensional interfaces to make three-dimensional designs. Their product, called Motus, is meant to speed up design processes by adding the dimension above your mouse pad. It aims to provide more intuitiveness to your 3D design workflow - and it looks pretty sleek too.kickstarter project

Posted from:

By David Khorram

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