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Seedcamp Invests In 11 New Startups After Its Annual Event

By   /  September 18, 2014  /  Tech  /  No Comments

European ‘venture accelerator’ Seedcamp has announced it has made 11 new investments, out of the 21 drawn from around Europe that pitched at their annual event in London last week. It made 11 investments, 7 directly from Seedcamp Week applicants, and 4 from the new Seedcamp Fund. The companies are: ● Carbon Voyage, London, UK – “Creating technology that makes… Read More

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Meet Black Girls Code, The 2014 TechCrunch Include Grant Recipient

By   /  September 9, 2014  /  Tech  /  No Comments

TechCrunch is excited to announce Black Girls Code as the recipient of the first TechCrunch Include Grant of $50,000. The mission of Black Girls Code aligns perfectly with the founding goals of the Include Grant by aiming to increase participation of women and girls of color in technology and computer science by facilitating early involvement in the field, moving them from being consumers… Read More

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Pluralsight Raises $135 Million At A Valuation Approaching $1 Billion

By   /  August 27, 2014  /  Tech  /  No Comments

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The online technology training service Pluralsight has raised a whopping $135 million in new financing as it looks to consolidate its position as a major player in personal and professional continuing information technology education.
“We believe in the vision we have of democratizing professional education,” says Pluralsight chief executive Aaron Skonnard, and apparently the… Read More

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The Father Of Net Neutrality Is Crowdfunding His Political Campaign

By   /  August 4, 2014  /  Business  /  No Comments

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Tim Wu, an academic known for his work on net neutrality, is campaigning to become the Democratic nominee for the lieutenant governor of New York. He’s an unlikely politician. Cerebral, soft spoken, and willing to speak freely, conversation with Wu is a far cry from the stilted, shrill dialogue that makes up most of our modern political discourse. Read More

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Crowd Coffee: August 4

By   /  August 4, 2014  /  Business  /  No Comments

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Columbia Crest Becomes the First Winery to Crowdsource a Wine from Vineyard to Table | PR NewswireThe Internet now has a vineyard — a premium, award-winning one at that. Beginning today, Columbia Crest — the only Washington winery to be awarded Wine Spectator’s No. 1 Wine in the World* — will help the online community of wine-lovers create the first-ever Crowdsourced Cabernet Sauvignon from the beginning stages of the vineyard all the way to bottling and selling the wine through a new online experience.

The Game Crowdsourcing Fan-Created Album Covers for ‘Year of the Wolf’ | Radio.comHave you ever thought to yourself, “Hey, I would really like to design The Game’s next album cover”? If so, your big break might be sooner than you think.But the competition isn’t going to be easy. The Game has already found the entry to beat.

Start-up Digital Publisher to Crowd-Source Ebook Plots | DigitalBookWorldEntrepreneur Lori Colbeck will be bringing publishing to South Dakota in the form of a website that combines the talent of writers and the discerning appetite of readers. Books From Scratch will allow readers to vote on how stories will progress based on chapters submitted by authors. Authors do not have to have previous writing experience to contribute. The finalized manuscript will be published through Colbeck’s company.

Young scientists use crowd sourcing to fund their research | The Sydney Morning HeraldIn heart disease, the same stuff that makes snot green finds its way into the body’s arteries, making their walls sticky and prone to damage.Sydney medical researcher Martin Rees and his team want to understand how these inflammatory proteins cause havoc so they can develop drugs that target them.With heart disease one of the leading causes of death in Australia, its easy to imagine this project’s potential.

Potato salad crowdfunder raises $55,000 | KSPRHis crowdfunding effort on the website Kickstarter closed Saturday night. It became a social media phenomenon since it launched a month ago and the contributions came from nearly 7,000 people. Half of those gave less than $3 and 860 gave $35 or more, according to data posted by the site.

Legislation on sharing economy must encourage innovation | SFGateYet the pending state legislation, which seeks to require the same insurance for ride-sharing companies as for old-style taxi companies, would discourage innovation and force out-of-date thinking on Next Economy companies such as Uber and Lyft. Since the Gold Rush, California has been a leader in innovating and creating Next Economies. In the 21st century, California should continue to support progress, change and growth.

Tags: crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, sharing-economy

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Crowd Coffee: July 31

By   /  July 31, 2014  /  Business  /  No Comments

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Crowd-fund Salty movie to make money from its profits | MSN techSyndicateRoom, the crowd-investment site, will allow investors to make money from a film from majoy Hollywood director Simon West.To break free from Hollywood studios West, director of Con Air, Expendables 2 and Tomb Raider, will be adapting the book Salty into an action comedy movie using crowd-funding.Those who invest in the film will be classed as proper investors who make money from the film. At the time of publishing the funding has hit almost half a million pounds with it’s goal at a lofty £1.8 million. The total budget will be £5.9 million. Those that invest, with a minimum of £1000, are predicted to get a 14.49 per cent return on their money based on the film making £10.6 million.

Crowdfunding sector growing some grey hairs | Real Estate WeeklySince 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 licences approved | Stuff.co.nzPledgeMe and Snowball Effect are the first crowdfunding services licensed by the Financial Markets Authority to let businesses sell shares to the public through their websites.Equity crowdfunding allows businesses to raise up to $2 million a year from investors without the usual red tape involved in share issues.It became legal in April but has not been possible until today as crowdfunding platforms need to be licensed by the FMA to provide the service to clients.

Peer to Peer Lender Privlo Gets $3.8 Million in Seed Funding | Crowdfund InsiderPrivlo, a peer to peer lender of private real estate loans for high-quality borrowers, has raised a $3.8 million seed plus round of funding from Spark Capital and QED Investors and up to $350 million in debt capital from a multibillion dollar New York-based private real estate investment fund.

Arts Charity IdeasTap Launches ACCELERATOR — Commission-Free Crowdfunding for Creatives | BusinessWireArts charity IdeasTap today launched ACCELERATOR, a commission-free crowdfunding platform for creative projects. ACCELERATOR is the brainchild of philanthropist Peter De Haan who has personally donated more than £20 million to charitable causes. In 2008, De Haan founded arts charity IdeasTap in response to the first of the arts funding cuts, to empower young creative people through opportunities, seed funding, arts jobs and career development.

SIGNiX Crowdfunding Partner Finds Success with New Electronic Signature Software | Digital JournalSIGNiX, the most trusted name in digital signatures, is pleased to announce their latest partner CommunityLeader has found success embedding electronic signature software to its Crowdfunding platform. CommunityLeader is the nation’s premier provider of funding portal platform software and services for the ever-growing online securities market.

TSA to crowdsource airport security solutions with $15,000 reward | Yahoo!The US transportation authority is offering $15,000 in rewards to the people who can come up with the smartest ideas for shortening mile-long queues at airport security.In addition to a nice little windfall, the winners would also become national heroes for decreasing the number of missed flights and connections and improving one of the most loathed parts of the airport and travel experience.

Said On The Street: Indonesian Views On Cabinet Crowdsourcing | The Wall Street JournalJoko Widodo’s team of volunteers and supporters are asking the public for its viewson who should be part of the president-elect’s next cabinet. Mr. Widodo – who will be inaugurated in October barring a successful court challenge from his rival, Prabowo Subiato — has said he supports the initiative. The online survey offers three options for each of the 34 ministries, with a blank for individuals to put forth their own suggestions. Since the first survey launched last week, tens of thousands of people have responded and a second website called The People’s Cabinet has gone live. Southeast Asia Real Time asked people what they thought of the crowdsourcing effort.

Portland OKs Airbnb-type short-term rentals | The WorldThe Portland City Council voted Wednesday to legalize short-term rentals in single-family homes, giving added legitimacy to rental websites such as Airbnb. Homeowners will be allowed to rent one or two bedrooms once a safety inspection is done and neighbors are notified.

Tags: crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, sharing-economy

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Mesenaatti Helps Individuals and Organizations Crowdfund in Finland

By   /  July 17, 2014  /  Business  /  No Comments

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We recently reached out to Pauliina Seppälä, co-founder of the Finnish rewards-based crowdfunding platform Mesenaatti with some questions about her platform, as well as the crowdfunding scene in her country, in general. Check out her responses (edited slightly for clarity) below.

Anton Root, Crowdsourcing.org: Why did you decide to start your own crowdfunding platform?

Pauliina Seppälä, Mesenaatti co-founder: I came up with the idea in the autumn of 2009. Having never heard of crowdfunding, I called it “collective consumption.” I talked to some people about it, but they didn’t quite get it. I went on with my life, until a year later, when I met Tanja Jänicke, who immediately took to the idea and we decided to found such a service.

Later that year, we ran into Kickstarter and discovered our idea is not unique, and that other people have already done it, and very well. After some initial disappointment, we decided that it makes sense to open up a local crowdfunding service in Finland, matched with the societal context we have, as well as the language and culture.

Why do you think Finland is a good environment for crowdfunding?

In a way it is not: people are used to the public sector covering funding for anything important, and people are not even accustomed to charity and volunteer work. Everything is already taken care of. Our idea, however, is to help the public sector, as well as foundations, distribute the funds more transparently — by using crowdfunding. We are working together with various institutions, both public and private, and try to gather them all to provide the funds for our projects. On Mesenaatti, organizations can also crowdfund, and not just individuals.

Additionally, the tax base is decreasing and the funds for fields such as art are becoming smaller, while the cultural industry, record companies as an example, are struggling to find the business logic in the digital era, so there is also a new need for additional funding. Also, in Finland as everywhere else, we now live a new age of connectivity, thanks to social media, and that makes all kinds of collective action possible.

What kinds of campaigns do you focus on?

We are a general platform for any kind of campaigns. They do need to address the public somehow, rather than being utilized for private use, though, like “I want to pay for my surgery.”

How many campaigns have you launched, and how many have been successfully funded?

We have launched around a hundred campaigns, out of which about 80 have succeeded in reaching the minimum goal. However, only a few have reached the full goal.

What’s the total amount of money you’ve raised, and how many people have pledged to campaigns?

Our projects have now raised a little over €300,000 from 6000 pledges. We cannot rule out that the same people may have pledged several times, however, so the actual number of backers may be lower.

What’s your business model?

We take a fee of 7 percent. We also build custom subpages for customers, where they can present themselves to audiences and showcase several projects simultaneously. These projects can be projects that the organization has funded, or ones that the organization runs themselves, or campaigns of their stakeholders (such as a record company running campaigns for potential new bands to list).

Are you thinking about equity crowdfunding?

Well, that is quite well covered in Finland, and our competences lie elsewhere, so it seems unlikely we would start that. We are cooperating with the Finnish equity crowdfunding platform Invesdor.

What’s the regulatory landscape in Finland regarding crowdfunding, both rewards and equity?

I don’t know so much about the equity side, except that crowdfunding seems to have caused quite a stir, and there is a lot of discussion going on about changing the laws and regulations. Also there is discussion on the EU level. As the reward based crowdfunding goes, it is important not to mix it with asking people to donate, as the Finnish money collection law is quite unique, and it forbids anyone to address the public and ask for donations, unless they are given a money collecting permit from the police. This permit, moreover, can only be given to nonprofit organizations for nonprofit causes. The reward is thus really an important part of reward based crowdfunding in Finland, so that the project can be seen as presales, or even micro-sponsoring, but not asking for donations.

The current government, however, is in the process of changing this money collecting law into a less strict version.

What are your goals for Mesenaatti? Where do you see yourself by the end of the year?

I hope the number and size of projects will start climbing faster, taking us towards a better situation business wise, and also that our recognition improves significantly among the potential audience. We are also looking at forming a pan-Nordic group together with four other Nordic platforms, called The Nordic Crowdfunding Alliance, which aims at enlarging our market together, and giving the best projects more visibility. There are also many developments for the platform that we intend to implement during the latter half of the year.

Tags: crowd-funding, crowdfunding, finland, mesenaatti

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Doggie-Focused Bark & Co. (BarkBox) Raises $15 Million Series B

By   /  July 11, 2014  /  Tech  /  No Comments

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Bark & Co., the doggie-themed technology company best known for its dog treat-delivering subscription business BarkBox, and more recently, its vet care-on-demand service BarkCare, has just closed on 15 million in Series B funding. The company raised $10 million in inside round led by previous investor Resolute.vc, along with RRE, BoxGroup, Lerer Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media… Read More

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Kickstarter’s 3-City Film Festival Will Be Live-Streamed

By   /  July 2, 2014  /  Business  /  No Comments

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In the five years since Kickstarter launched, film projects on the crowdfunding platform have raised nearly $225 million in pledges, snagged accolades at awards shows, earned praise at film festivals and nabbed airtime on such TV networks as HBO, PBS and Showtime.

This year, a new slate of films partially- or fully-funded through Kickstarter will get time to shine at the three-city Kickstarter Film Fest in New York City, Los Angeles and London.

The New York portion on July 18 in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park will be live-streamed, Kickstarter spokeswoman Julie Wood told Mashable, as will the Los Angeles segment on Sept. 12 and the London festival on an undetermined date this year. Read more…

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Startups And The Un-Banking Of America

By   /  June 29, 2014  /  Tech  /  No Comments

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Historically, when looking for opportunity in the financial industry where technology can have the greatest impact — for investors and entrepreneurs — the best place to start has been with one of our oldest institutions: banks. However, while critical to our economy, banks are generally inefficient, have high fixed costs and don’t exactly elicit happy thoughts from the… Read More

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