Tilt has a grand vision: it wants to be for crowdfunding what WordPress is for blogging.
That is, the San Francisco-based company wants to make it simple and free for people to have a crowdfunding campaign up in minimal time, for anything they think is worth funding.
“We think crowdfunding is going to become an everyday thing, it’s not going to be only something you think about when you want to launch a cool new hardware product,” co-founder and CTO Khaled Hussein told Crowdsourcing.org in a recent interview.
Tilt, a Y Combinator grad that only launched two and a half years ago, has made a series of moves to put its ambitious goals well within reach. Indeed, in multiple major ways, the company has already delivered. Whether Tilt’s bet that crowdfunding will become as ubiquitous as blogging pays off, however, remains to be seen.
The Customer Is Always Right
The company’s success till now may not have happened if the founders, Hussein and CEO James Beshara, stuck to their original plans of making Tilt, originally known as Crowdtilt, a crowdfunding platform for non-profits and charitable causes. After launching the platform, the duo saw that many of the early adopters were funding tailgates, birthday presents, and fantasy sports leagues, and decided to roll with their customers. So, Tilt became a place to “group fund anything.”
From the earliest days, the founders’ focus was on building out technology that would allow Tilt to be versatile enough to keep adjusting to the customers’ needs and desires. Naturally, then, the founders set out to form a team made up primarily of software developers who were keen on making the platform adaptable and secure, and who could build out new features and products quickly.
“That allows us to iterate a lot, it allows us to innovate a lot, it allows us to experiment with a lot of different tools,” Hussein said.
Features, Features Everywhere
Tilt has, indeed, put the developers’ prowess into action. This comes across even on the most standard campaigns, where there’s flexibility around the goal and contribution amounts. Unlike most crowdfunding platforms, for example, Tilt offers users two funding thresholds — the ‘tilt’ and the target. The tilt (at least in theory) is the minimum amount a project creator needs to deliver on the promises made in the campaign; once that point is reached, backers can keep funding until the campaign expires. Project creators can also set fixed and minimum payment amounts, if that best suits their campaign.
The team has also been busy with a number of other projects. In August 2013, the company rolled out the beta version of CrowdHoster, a white label solution that allowed project creators to set up their customizable crowdfunding pages, for free. In February of this year, the company renamed the product to CrowdTilt Open, and launched it to the public. (Since the company’s rebrand to Tilt, the name accordingly changed to Tilt Open.) The product has caught on, and the recent hiring of Freeman White, previously at Launcht, should help Tilt Open continue to grow.
Tilt was also one of the first to roll out an app for its platform. The app is highly intuitive and it makes creating a crowdfunding campaign as easy as setting up a Facebook Event. There is a split cost feature to make it simple for people to collect an even amount of funds from each person, useful when collecting money for a gift, for example.
Along the way, the company created a ‘Sell Something’ feature tailored specifically for those who do want to use the platform in a more ‘traditional,’ product pre-sales capacity. Project creators set the minimum number of sales required to reach the goal, and decide on the price per item. The company’s most recent offering, which went live just last week, is a pre-order widget. Tilt promises that by simply “dropping in two lines of code,” the users are able to give any page the ability to pre-sell items. The new feature makes use of Tilt Logistics, the company’s fulfillment service that helps creators ship out goods to the backers.
Tilt Scores a Key Partnership
Tilt’s versatility was bound to pique the interest of a large, high-profile company sooner or later, and that’s just what happened. In August, the startup revealed that it partnered with ESPN to power the company’s Fantasy Football dues collection and payouts. The two firms, Hussein said, clicked early on in talks of partnering. But, Tilt didn’t want to take on the responsibility until it was ready.
“The biggest [difficulty] was going back and forth and making sure that our technology meets their requirements,” he explained. “Once we got to the point where we felt comfortable about taking on very, very heavy traffic from ESPN, we closed the deal.”
The partnership is already paying off for Tilt from a marketing perspective.
“People create their leagues, and then they start planning their tailgates after that, they plan their football watching parties, and that’s exactly what Tilt is about,” Hussein said. “It’s not something you’re going to use only once, it’s something you come back to.”
Later in August, the company took a serious step forward in realizing its mission of enabling anybody, anywhere to crowdfund anything: Tilt made its core features free of charge. While there are fees for the more elaborate, support-heavy fundraising options, a user who needs to collect money from a group of people can do so for free (as long as the backers pay with debit cards — credit card fees do still apply).
Dropping the campaign fees, Hussein suggested, shows that Tilt is looking to disrupt the (already disruptive) crowdfunding industry.
“Our motivation, very much, is innovating on the whole crowdfunding space,” he said. “We’re changing the mindset completely, where you just think more about the social aspect of bringing people’s ideas into reality.”
He continued: “It needs to be a lot easier than, ‘I have to go out of my way and convince companies to accept my project, and then I have to go create a video, and write all these paragraphs, think about all these rewards…’ No, it just needs to be a lot easier than that.”
While Tilt is clearly offering features and products that other crowdfunding platforms aren’t, it’s not unfair to ask whether Tilt is still really a ‘crowdfunding platform’ in the way the term is used today. Unlike its more traditional competitors, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, there are no explicit reward tiers to create — unless a creator only offer pre-sales of a specific product via a ‘Sell Something’ campaign. And Tilt doesn’t allow visitors to browse its list of campaigns, since so many are personal and are unlikely to attract outsider donations, anyway.
I asked Hussein whether Tilt was morphing more into an online payment processing company like, say, Venmo, with added crowdfunding features; he rejected the idea.
“What Tilt is about is turning ideas into reality, it’s about using collective action to get to critical mass, to gauge demand, to excite people to do something new that hasn’t happened before,” he explained. “We’re a platform that enables things to happen, we’re not a platform for collecting dues after the fact, even though we see those use cases a lot on our site. We’re [for] the early phase, where you’re still planning and want to see the feasibility of something, you want to see the demand.”
Tilt’s vision and aspirations for the crowdfunding industry have caught the eye of prominent investors. The company has raised over $35 million from angels and VCs like Andreessen Horowitz, Sean Parker, and Naval Ravikant, among others.
Now, Tilt wants to turn its victories with early adopters and investors into more mainstream success. As part of that, the company has created a campus ambassador program, which has representatives preaching all things Tilt at 60 campuses in the US. The demographic on college campuses — young, tech-savvy, and open to new experiences — makes it the perfect place for the startup to find new users.
And while the company has already made its international debut in Canada, it’s looking to expand its further further across the globe. Hussein said that what makes the expansion process slow is finding the right partners to work with, both on a technological and visionary level, and navigating each country’s laws. But, he said, Tilt learned a lot from its experience in Canada, and it will use the lessons learned to make the process smoother in the future.
Tilt has figured out how to offer its services under a freemium model, made it simple for users to create crowdfunding campaigns in seconds on their phones and computers, and fostered a committed early user base. That’s not bad for a company that has yet to celebrate its third birthday. But, Tilt’s aims are set higher.
Will crowdfunding really break through and become “an everyday thing?” Perhaps; and if so, Tilt will be well positioned to reap the rewards. But if not, Tilt is likely to do once again what it has done to get to its current position as one of the leading platforms around: listen to its customers, and build out products that they need.Read More →
Crowdfunding Must Get Back to Its Roots | Equities.comThe CEO of the ASSOB, which is considered to be the world’s oldest and most well-established Crowdfunding platform, explained in his article that there are three levels of investors, which an issuer can tap for capital. He pointed out that only 6% of issuers had been successful in obtaining capital from the third level of investors. This was why he included the phrase, “no crowd in equity crowdfunding” in the title of his article.
Maryland Securities Commissioner Finalizes Rules for Intrastate Crowdfunding | Crowdfund InsiderIn March of 2014, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation enabling small businesses to participate in intrastate crowdfunding. The Maryland Securities Commissioner released its final rules for compliance with the exemption on October 1, 2014, making intrastate crowdfunding in Maryland fully legal.
Uber Entertainment cancels faltering Human Resources crowdfunding | PC GamerThe decision to pull the plug was announced today by John Comes, the design director at developer Uber Entertainment, which had a big hit on Kickstarter in 2012 with Planetary Annihilation. The Human Resources effort had brought in more than $384,000 from 9326 backers, which sounds impressive in a vacuum. The goal, however, was $1.4 million, and after nearly three weeks it clearly wasn’t going to get there.
The Myth Of Magical Crowdfunding — And What Actually Works | ForbesBut thousands of startup entrepreneurs continue to entertain the fantasy that if they slap something up on Kickstarter, they can alert the media, quickly raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, and presto! Instant company. Or, in the case of creative artists, instant funding for their dreamed-of movie, online TV series, CD, comic, or book of photography. Here are the mistakes I see many entrepreneurs and creative artists making, and my tips on how to save yourself a lot of wasted time and effort if you want to try crowdfunding:
Is the sharing economy always a net good? | TechTargetThe sharing economy is also generating real dollars. According to March 2014 data from CB Insights and Deloitte, the sharing economy is now big business. Since 2012, venture capital firms have invested $2 billion-plus in more than 500 collaborative economy ventures globally, and, according to Marketingcharts, 40% of North American adults used a collaborative commerce service in 2013.
TechTown’s AiirShare brings sharing economy to private planes | Model DThe sharing economy has made its way into most facets of everyday people’s lives. Today, it’s not uncommon to rent out your car for cab rides or a spare room for hotel stays. A TechTown-based startup now wants to take that concept airborne. AiirShare brings sharing economy to aircraft and flying, helping people with private planes rent out empty seats to fliers. Those seats can range from single-engine Cessnas to private jets.
Can Cohealo bring the sharing economy to hospitals? | MedCityNewsAfter raising $9 million in a series A round, Boston-based digital health startup Cohealo is poised to take its shared economy model for medical equipment to a broader stage, targeting what could be a unique market for multi-hospital systems.Cohealo, founded in 2011, has identified the use of non-emergency medical equipment as a largely inefficient and wasteful area, particularly for large health systems that often don’t coordinate with each hospital on what equipment is being used regularly or shoved into a storage closet.
The fate of these Indian prisoners in Pakistan’s jails hangs on the power of crowdsourcing | QuartzOn Oct. 16, New Delhi’s mission in Islamabad posted an appeal for information on its website, along with a list of the 22 prisoners that included their photographs. Contact details of two Indian diplomats, one in New Delhi and another in Islamabad, were also provided. “The high commission of India has not been able to establish the national identity of these individuals in the absence of sufficient detail and information of their background and place of permanent residence,” it said.Read More →
A campaign to crowdfund the “world’s first smart, connected carry-on” reached its goal of $50,000 in two hours and one minute on Indiegogo Monday.
Bluesmart luggage connects to a mobile app that allows travelers to track the bag’s proximity, digitally lock and unlock it, check the bag’s weight, show travel data and track routes. The creators are not the first to propose GPS-tracked bags, but they have added features that make the concept appealing.
“We came up with the idea for Bluesmart after suffering a couple of bad experiences with our luggage, when airlines forced us to check bags only to have them mishandled or lost,” said Tomi Pierucci, the cofounder of Bluesmart. “We realized that with all the amazing technology available today, we could do betterSuitcases haven’t seen much innovation in decades, so we decided to design a suitcase for this century.” Read more…Read More →
http://eepurl.com/5-COP Watch all the top story , Video Conference on CrowdFunding Beat , P2P & OPINION:
Going beyond “Crowdfunding
Ever been to Indiegogo? Kickstarter? Spend any cash? What’d you leave with? Why does anyone buy a product that doesn’t exist yet…and may never exist? On the surface, crowdfunding seems to defy logic. Economists find the phenomenon of crowdfunding startling. If you think like an economist, crowdfunding shouldn’t work. But it does. And those who understand why it works… Read More
A fundraising page on GoFundMe was created on Wednesday to raise donations for Amber Joy Vinson, the nurse who traveled from Dallas to Cleveland and is currently being treated in Atlanta for Ebola. The site may have been the work of a well-intentioned individual, but members of Vinson’s family tell BBB they did not authorize the effort. Although that page has since been shut down, there are more than 100 GoFundMe pages raising money for various Ebola crowdsourcing — campaigns.
SOURCE:http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/10/prweb12258340.htmRead More →
The crowdfunding campaign target is 17000 and some of the proceeds will be used for adding more content and pages to the website KenyanIntroductions.com
Funds raised will also be used for site promotion and advertising in Europe the USA and the UK.
SOURCE LINK: http://www.menafn.com/1093983348/Crowdfunding-Campaign-to-Launch-KenyanIntroductionsRead More →
Creativity is the key to making a memorable campaign that is “sticky” in the minds of your audience. There is so much competition for attention that people have learned to tune out the noise. According to scholars, this is “the attention economy.” And the only rule that applies is: whoever can attract and hold the attention of the crowd, wins. The crowd-funding platforms report that the more creatively presented projects have higher success rates—beyond 55%.
SOURCE LINK to the full article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/sungardas/2014/10/17/10-strategies-for-successfully-crowdfunding-your-venture/Read More →
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This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Rafael fala sobre Equity Crowdfunding e do novo momento das startups no Brasil. Sócio fundador da…Read More →