Posts Tagged ‘Crowdfunding’

As previously announced, we have wrapped up Fundchange and will be focusing on our crowdsourcing platform which is soon to be relaunched.

I thought it might be helpful for other Canadian start-ups interested in this space to hear what we learned over the past 2 years launching and running Fundchange which was an initiative of Ideavibes.

Here we go – lessons learned:

  1. Be careful what claims you make. We thought we were the first crowdfunding website for charities and non-profits in Canada when we launched in 2010 – but the Small Change Fund very forcefully told us to stop saying this (amazing how a cease and desist letter throws you off your game). We didn’t know their project fundraising site had all of a sudden become a crowdfunding website.
  2. When working with large partners, it is helpful to make regular updates an important part of the agreement – no matter how busy people might be.
  3.  Inertia and habits are VERY hard to change. We didn’t understand how stuck charities and non-profits in Canada are in their old ways (even if they aren’t working), and how averse to change and risk they are.
  4. We tried to boil the ocean – not possible for a start-up or even a partner like TELUS. We knew the conversation around social media had to change in Canada if businesses – governments – and charities are to communicate with Canadians and we tried to do do much of this on our own. The belief that no one over 40 is on social media is WRONG.
  5. Banks and service providers like PayPal, etc. need to stop treating Canada like a 3rd world nation. I know we are only 30mil people but come on – there is no excuse for launching products and services in the US and then Britain before Canada.
  6. When launching a start-up – don’t stray from Stephen Covey’s mantra of ‘keeping the main thing – the main thing.’ My bad – did that and given our limited resources, caused us much grief.

There are a few others but these are the main ones I wanted to put out there.



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A couple months ago, Ideavibes responded to a call from Community Housing Capital to help them find a solution to the cuts to affordable housing programs in the United States. Working with the Federal Reserve Bank and CHC, we held a series of workshops that lead to a survey and ultimately a whitepaper on the use of crowdfunding for funding affordable housing in the US. Budget cuts and program cancellations have resulted in a major part of the US economy being hit with the problem of a lack of capital.

With all this in mind, today, the CHC with some help from Ideavibes launched a Homes for Good campaign on crowdfunding site IndieGoGo.

Download and Read the Whitepaper

Read the Press Release from CHC

Visit the Crowdfunding Campaign

More information about Community Housing Capital can be found at www.communityhousingcapital.org 

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Ideavibes and CATA have announced the results of their survey on attitudes towards crowdfunding in Canada. The survey was targeted at the business start-up community.

Ideavibes_CATA_Infographic_hr (Download PDF)

Results of Aug/Sept 2012 Survey

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As a player in the crowdfunding space in a couple ways: one through the sales of our Crowd Engagement Platform – which does crowdfunding – and through the running of Fundchange (www.fundchange.com), we have had the opportunity to observe how Canadians approach crowdfunding and compare this to what we see is happening in other countries. Our conservative nature is showing through it appears.

It can’t be denied that crowdfunding is all the rage these days and there is some success happening through the different models out there. What we haven’t seen though, is a whole lot happening in Canada in this area – either from funders or from groups looking for funding. Our experience with Fundchange on the not-for-profit side so far has shown that Canadians don’t seem to be keen supporters of funding projects or ideas through this social media mechanism. We think this is rather odd because Canadians are supposed to be one of the top social media users in the world.

So we started to wonder, are Canadians’ attitudes different than the Americans or British towards crowdfunding?  Are we less likely to participate either as a fund seeker or a funder? The best way to get a handle on this was to check in with the crowd and see what their attitudes on crowdfunding were so  Ideavibes has partnered with the CATA Alliance to launch an online survey to get an idea of where start-ups especially sit with regard to crowdfunding.

You can find the survey here until August 24th so please take a few minutes (if you are Canadian) to participate: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/crowdfunding082012

Once the survey is complete, we will let you know what we find out.


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Today we posted a project on IndieGoGo to help us do some down and dirty tech work on our platform to improve the way it works as a white label crowdfunding platform for clients – but also to improve the way our now year old Fundchange works. The year has taught us that charities and non-profits need lots of help getting the crowd involved in the work they do by funding projects or doable asks.

Support our work here:  http://www.indiegogo.com/fundchange

If you would like to help us improve our platform to be able to help charities and non-profits in Canada but around the world through the use of our platform – then support our project on IndieGoGo http://www.indiegogo.com/fundchange. You may ask – why didn’t we use Kickstarter? Well – it appears that Kickstarter really doesn’t like Canadians – or it encourages us to lie in order to use their site. You can’t post on Kickstarter if you don’t have a US bank account, US address, etc. How rude!

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Crowdfunding is a great way to raise funds for various projects. More companies are realizing what they can accomplish by turning to their crowd and the benefits of receiving a larger number of smaller donations as opposed to seeking out one or two significant donations to fund projects. Crowdfunding is a great way to connect with your crowd and build a loyal following, as people are likely to contribute to companies and brands they care about, which also means you need to treat your crowd right and let them know where their dollars are going.

For some, crowdfunding is still new territory to explore, which means that the first question on the mind of most people is: does it work?

Crowdfunding Infographic

An infographic from Column Five showcases a series of crowdfunding tips, popular platforms and the pros and cons of crowdfunding. I’ve embedded the infographic below for you to check out:
Crowd Power: What Is Crowdfunding? [INFOGRAPHIC]
via: Crowd Power: What Is Crowdfunding? [INFOGRAPHIC]

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In the US, there’s a bill in the Senate that could open up a plethora of new opportunities for startups to acquire funding using crowdfunding. In Canada, the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance feels that Canada needs to adopt similar legislation, or risk losing startups to the US (should the Bill pass).

Crowdfunding for Startups in Africa

With these two issues on my radar, it piqued my interest when I saw an article by Harley McKenson on africabusiness.com titled “Could Crowdfunding be far more effective than stock exchanges in French-speaking sub- Saharan Africa?“. In the article, McKenson writes:

“Nowadays, a lot of projects are springing up in Africa, one of the vast emerging consumer markets, and require working capital to operate, to grow and to compete successfully in sectors with future potential, such as agro-industries, solar energy, housing, finance, mobile phones, gold mining and advertising industries.

Unfortunately, there are very few accredited angel investors and venture capitalists based in African countries. The continent’s banks rarely lend to early-stage entrepreneurs and small businesses. Most international investors hesitate to provide capital to African startups. Anglo-Saxon, Chinese and Arab investment funds focus only on most large corporate entities.”


Entrepreneurs all over the world need money to get their companies up and running. They shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to acquire funds from those who want to help them out and crowdsourcing is a great way to raise those funds and create awareness about a new business. In the article mentioned above, McKenson explains how crowdsourcing is a viable way to strengthen small business growth in Africa:

“Crowdfunding platforms give entrepreneurs new tools to describe their investment opportunity and people to become investors in these opportunities for very little money. There is no legal obligation to hire lawyers or advisors to assist in the fundraising process. The project initiators disseminate the information using their social networks and encourage many other people sharing the same interests in their networks to do the same.

In addition, crowdfunding is an excellent way for entrepreneurs to test and improve their products/services through these online platforms and it provides a forum of feedback from the internet community. If the projects do not reach its funding goal after time expires, it would mean that the products or services do not meet the public needs, requirements and expectations and some changes need to be made. Finally, one of the advantages of crowdfunding is that project supporters can raise money without giving away any equity.”

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