FundFind wants to be South Africa’s answer to Kickstarter, the US crowd-funding platform that’s helped musicians like Amanda Palmer and companies like Pebble, the company behind a smart watch project, by raising small amounts of money from large numbers of people.
FundFind arose from founder Steve Larter’s own frustration at trying to get funding for creative projects.
“I’m an actor, commercial voice artist, videographer and editor,” the 26-year-old Larter explains. “I’ve had a lot of projects I’ve wanted to do that I’ve battled to get funding for. I tried a few times to raise money on overseas crowd-funding sites but found it difficult.”
He says the South African public finds it difficult to spend dollars or pounds, even on local projects. “I wanted a local site that worked in rand.”
Final development of the FundFind website is underway and should be launched later this month.
The site has been outsourced to a US developer named Mike Pence, who was one of the original members of the team that developed Kickstarter. “Mike broke away and started his own Web development company,” Larter says.
The time difference between South Africa and the US has, however, proved problematic. “That has been very tricky, actually,” Larter says. “That’s been one of our biggest challenges so far.”
Though the intention was to focus on creative projects — because those are Larter’s passion — FundFind can be used for anything from charities to starting small businesses or creating new products.
However, there are certain criteria that have to be met for a project to make it on to FundFind. “It must have a beginning and an end. You can’t say ‘fund my life’. Your project has to have a defined product or end result.”
Those wanting to use the platform will have to submit detailed proposals that will be vetted before their projects can go live on FundFind.
Larter says he is working with banks to ensure the service can accept debit and credit cards, electronic funds transfers and possibly rewards programmes like eBucks.
“The beauty of crowd-funding is that if you have a project on the website, your goal is to get as many people as possible to visit the site and look at their project,” Larter says. That means users will spread information about their projects using social media, translating into more interest in FundFind.
FundFind will take between 4% and 9% of the final amount raised. This figure varies depending on the type of funding strategy used. Larter says FundFind will offer an “all-or-nothing” model where, if a target is not reached, the funders are reimbursed as well as a “keep-what-you-raise” model that will be less restrictive. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media