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Crowd Coffee: October 16

By   /  October 16, 2014  /  Business  /  No Comments

3 Ways to Use CrowdFunding for Market Research | Huffington PostAre you hoping to fund the creation of a new piece of video game technology? Or is your goal to help launch a financial startup business? Whatever your objective is, it is necessary to support it with the right form of content; failing to do so may hurt your campaign.

USC launches campus crowdfunding website | Daily TrojanThe program, dubbed Ignite USC, is a combination of the famed Trojan Family network and crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter. It aims to serve as a way for students and faculty to raise funding for meaningful projects that might not otherwise get exposure. Donations to projects will be counted toward the university’s campaign to raise $6 billion in funds. Projects will receive 100 percent of donations earned.

What If Your Crowdfunding Campaign Doesn’t Raise Enough Money? | SmallBizTrendsOne of the main reasons they were so far off was a particularly expensive pledge the game developer made to backers. The company had promised to make a documentary about its game creation process, among other perks. With so many more backers than expected, shipping of the documentary alone cost $250,000 because it had to be shipped internationally to 87,000 supporters. The film production costs for the documentary were another half million.

How Crowdsourcing Will Help Startups Build Their Own Versions of Siri | WiredThat’s why he started Wit.ai, a service that helps developers pool their voice samples together to power a speech and natural language recognition system that Lebrun hopes will soon rival the depth and breadth of the tools available to the likes of Apple and Google. In the years to come, this could become an important thing, as developers build the next wave of technologies that require speech interfaces, such as internet-connected appliances and wearable devices that don’t have screens.

Crowdsource everything, from dating to web design to fortune telling, with this Japanese startup | Tech In AsiaFor Coconala, crowdsourcing does not need to be limited to the workplace. Some of the usual freelance work is listed, but there is also treasure trove of other offered services, often for things like personal consulting. You can get advice on topics as various as fashion choices, restaurant picks, fun hobbies, and child rearing. Psychological and love counseling are two other categories as well. Love, predictably, is complex and has numerous subcategories like “looking hot,” “non-heterosexual,” “getting married,” “problems in marriage.” Users wanting to get married but also wanting to avoid the problems of married life might want to purchase some time with one of the fortune tellers listed on the site.

Why The Collaborative Economy Is Changing Everything | ForbesIt’s true, that the terms “sharing” or “collaborative economy” are being quite overused to encompass pretty much any and every single thing you think of, and that causes a lot of confusion. For example many of the things that fall under the sharing economy are what we used to simply call “renting,” now it seems as though any business that is aiming to target a consumer of any kind somehow gets labeled as being a part of the “sharing economy.” However over time this will be ironed out and clarified as the market matures.

How the Sharing Economy Is Changing Your Halloween Costume Search | Huffington PostWith only weeks to go before Halloween night, many of us are dusting off old costumes or looking to buy or create new outfits. There are more options than ever now to get one thanks to the Internet. Many people go to one of those Halloween pop-up stores that appear in our local shopping malls this time of year. Others turn to Amazon or other online stores to find the right costume. Now, the emergence of the online sharing economy is giving people still another option that a few years ago wasn’t available.

Open innovation important in promoting prosperity: Li Keqiang | Daily TimesAs economic globalization and informatization advance, all countries need to work together to achieve multiplication of knowledge and value through innovation cooperation, so as to solve development problems and promote common prosperity, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said.Innovation has become a new propeller for the development of mankind, Li said at an international forum themed on innovation, adding that the world, undergoing profound changes, calls for innovation in large scale and at deep level.

Tags: crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, open-innovation, sharing-economy

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This Bluetooth-Enabled Temperature Tracker Will Tell You The Optimal Time For Baby-Making

By   /  October 7, 2014  /  Tech  /  No Comments

Husband and wife team Anna Mayer and Daniel Graf were both professionals in their early 30’s when they decided they wanted to start a family. However, that proved a lot more difficult than they thought it would be. So mountains of research, visits to experts and some trial and error later, they decided to apply their experience to technology, and Ovatemp, a fertility tracking app, was born. Read More

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Google Acquires Zync To Bring Visual Effects Rendering To Its Cloud Platform

By   /  August 26, 2014  /  Tech  /  No Comments

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Google today announced that it has acquired Zync Render, a service that makes it easier for movie studios to render their visual effects in the cloud. The technology was used to render effects in movies like Star Trek: Into Darkness and Looper, for example. Google will use the technology to make it easier for studios to use its Cloud Platform infrastructure to render their creations. Read More

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Crowd Coffee: August 14

By   /  August 14, 2014  /  Business  /  No Comments

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Much Confusion Surrounds JOBS Act Filings | Hedge Fund AlertSince the JOBS Act took effect in September 2013, managers overseeing 187 funds have filed Form Ds with the SEC declaring their intention to advertise their offerings, according to a Hedge Fund Alert analysis. But the managers of 51 of those vehicles subsequently realized they had filed the forms in error and don’t plan to market to the public. And the Form Ds for at least another eight funds appear to mistakenly make JOBS Act claims.

Congressmen to SEC: Crowdfunding Laws Are Taking Way Too Long To Pass | BetaBeatCongressmen Jared Polis and Darrell Issa, along with the 28 other members of the House Innovation and Entrepreneurship Caucus, have drafted a letter to pressure the SEC into finishing the job. The law already passed in the house and was signed off on by the President, and the caucus is sick of waiting for the SEC to get around to writing out the rules so that the laws can be exercised and enforced.

Founder of Potato Salad Kickstarter Plans Benefit for Homeless | MashableDubbed PotatoStock 2014, the free concert will take place on September 27 in Columbus Ohio and will feature a lineup of local artists and an a yet-to-be-determined national touring act. Brown told Mashable that all concession proceeds will go to a permanent, donor-advised fund at the Columbus Foundation.

Local Lift Is A Kickstarter For Local Businesses | TechCrunchWith Local Lift, these business are able to create a campaign for a project that would benefit their customers or the community at large, as an alternative to taking out a loan for working capital which McClinton says are still just way too expensive for many business owners to consider.

Neil Young’s PonoMusic crowdfunding again, this time offering equity | The GuardianThe new campaign was officially launched today, although it was launched quietly at the start of August. More than $1.4m has already been pledged, with the campaign due to end on 1 September.“We are already seeing that this is a growing trend, where companies who successfully run Kickstarter campaigns then want to give those backers a chance to invest through an equity crowdfunding campaign,” Crowdfunder chief executive Chance Barnett told The Guardian.

Funding Circle Sheds Light on Defaults & Recovery | Crowdfund InsiderFunding Circle, a peer to peer lending platform that strives to operate a highly transparent lending business, recently shared some insight into their defaults and recovery side of their company. Just like any other investment, lending on a P2P platform entails risk. Investors mitigate risk by having a balanced portfolio. Data on P2P lending platforms have shown a higher rate of return for associated risk thus increasing investor interest. Funding Circle is one of the leading P2P platforms in the UK but they also have set up shop in the United States (and are looking to expand into other markets).

I&B Ministry uses crowdsourcing for Independence Day ads | The Hindu Business LineThe Ministry of Information and Broadcasting recently used crowdsourcing to come up with advertisement designs for the 68th Independence Day. The idea behind this exercise was to encourage public participation.The Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity received as many as 1,000 entries from enthusiasts. The entries were judged by an independent selection committee of field experts, artists and academicians. Top three winners bagged an award of Rs 15,000, while seven other designs bagged consolation prices of Rs 3,000 and letter of appreciation from the I & B Ministry.

Amazon, Google, and Crowdsourcing: The Battle for the Last Mile | Logistics ViewpointsBut controlling the last mile is more important than ever. So Amazon is rolling out its own fleet of delivery trucks. These trucks become a true competitor to UPS and FedEx, which will surely miss the Amazon business. For Amazon, it adds control over the last mile, and who is actually delivering the merchandise to customers. It also creates some additional flexibility into delivery timeframes, which can increase customer satisfaction. At the same time, it offers a way to reduce shipping costs, which have been increasingly as a larger percentage of revenue every year since 2009.

The New Sharing Economy: How People Created Their Own Big Business | Wall Street Cheat SheetStill, the sharing economy opens a can of worms that muddies more than just our cultural mores. In San Francisco, for instance, Airbnb has been blamed for exacerbating the city’s housing problems. Services like Lyft, too, have gotten flack from established taxi companies; in some cities these kinds of services have even been banned as a result of lobbying by such traditional tax firms, according to The Economist. Indeed, regulation is a huge issue in the new and seemingly ever-expanding frontier that is the sharing economy.

Next “Sharing Economy” Step: Backhoes on Loan | Next CityAfter interviewing over 30 public works directors in Michigan, he realized that MuniRent had a market. Mid-sized cities need to increase utilization of their heavy duty equipment and smaller cities need easy, rental access to the same. The first cluster of cities using MuniRent started in Mond’s backyard, Washtenaw County, home to Ann Arbor. That Mond says will be the “epicenter” from which he’d like to build out the platform.

Tags: crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, sharing-economy

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Seed&Spark Closes $1M Seed Round

By   /  August 6, 2014  /  Business  /  No Comments

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Seed&Spark, the crowdfunding platform focused on films, announced today that it raised $1 million in a seed round.

The round was led by Manitou Ventures; Abigail Disney, Lisa Kleiner-Chanoff, Matthew Mills, Vijay Pandurangan, Deborah Meijer, and others also contributed to the round.

Seed&Spark also announced that Julie Parker Benello, co-founder of Chicken & Egg Pictures and Gamechanger Films and film producer and Veritas Prep cofounder Chad Troutwine have joined the startup’s board of directors.

Related:- Seed&Spark Crowdfunding Itself Through Own Platform

We wrote about the platform when it was running a self-run crowdfunding campaign last year. As we wrote back then, Seed&Spark has a plethora of unique features that are targeted specifically at filmmakers. For instance, campaign owners can create ‘Wish Lists’ for items that they need money for. That way, backers can see exactly what they’re supporting. If a backer has an item that’s on the wish list, that person can arrange to loan the gadget to the filmmaker.

The most important differentiator for Seed&Spark when compared to other crowdfunding portals, though, is the site’s ‘Cinema,’ which serves as a distribution platform for the crowdfunded films. While it may not yet be a household name, it can still provide exposure for the directors and actors. With the number of brands jumping into the video streaming space, films in the Cinema could attract a lot of interest from the likes of Amazon, Yahoo!, or Netflix. Indeed, that’s already beginning to happen.

This summer, Seed&Spark inked a partnership with Amex NOW, which gives films the “opportunity for an in-home theatrical release of their film.” With a fresh injection of cash, the team behind Seed&Spark can focus more of its efforts on cultivating more such partnerships. That’s something CEO Emily Best said she wants to do, in order “to put truly independent content in front of the widest possible audiences and make sure the creators benefit.”

Tags: crowd-funding, crowdfunded-films, crowdfunding, seed-and-spark, seedspark

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Technology’s Role In Direct Democracy

By   /  August 3, 2014  /  Tech  /  No Comments

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An influx of communication and collaboration technologies since the beginning of the 21st century has helped to make this the most connected time in human history — and seemingly easier than ever for society to work together. Yet, where is the political yield? Read More

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The Most Important Factor Of Startup Success

By   /  July 28, 2014  /  Tech  /  No Comments

Whenever you think of startups, you very likely think of young people brimming with ideas sitting in garages and dorm rooms and solving problems with technology. We are conditioned in a way to consider the idea even over the person who came up with it, but after listening to entrepreneurs, I’ve come to learn, it’s not about the quality of the product idea or even the founders… Read More

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Apple Secretly Acquired “Pandora For Books” Startup BookLamp To Battle Amazon

By   /  July 26, 2014  /  Tech  /  No Comments

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TechCrunch has learned that Apple has made another acquisition, one that it is using to boost its e-books effort and “beat Amazon at its own game.” It has bought BookLamp, a startup based out of Boise, Idaho, that developed big data-style book analytics services. A second source says Apple bought BookLamp’s employees and technology for a price that was “higher than… Read More

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11 TechCrunch Stories You Don’t Want to Miss This Week

By   /  July 19, 2014  /  Business  /  No Comments

The week of 7/12 – 7/18 was a busy one for TechCrunch. Here’s the best of the best from this week. Priya Haji was an inspirational and positive presence in the technology and business worlds, and she will be greatly missed. Chicago-based entrepreneur Cheryl Dahle established a crowdfunding campaign on Fundly to help support Haji’s young children. Read “Tech… Read More

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Google’s Cloud Platform Gets New Tools For Monitoring And Debugging Apps

By   /  June 25, 2014  /  Tech  /  No Comments

A few months ago, Google acquired the up-and-coming cloud monitoring service Stackdriver with the intent to integrate it into its own cloud tools. It didn’t take the company all that long to make use of Stackdriver’s expertise, because it launched its first product based on the company’s technology at its I/O developer conference today. Read More

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