CrowdIt: Raise Money Online, Get Feedback and Mentorship, Too

A new crowdfunding site to raise money online for projects has emerged. But this time, the site claims to offer more than just the opportunity to raise some startup cash. The new site also offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to get feedback and mentorship.

Said CEO and Co-founder of CrowdIt, Jason Graf:

“We always hear about ‘the power of the crowd’, but the crowd has a lot more to offer than just funding. So we wanted to create a site that gave entrepreneurs access to funding, but also feedback, peer review, mentorship, and other insights that could help them along the way.”

The site began accepting project ideas on March 6, 2013. On June 4, CrowdIt will launch its initial campaigns and open up the social features of the site. Anyone can sign up for an account for free. Then, users can earn different “badges” based on their activity.

For example, when you launch a project, you’ll get a Dreamer Badge. When you support a project, you’ll get a Believer Badge. And professional investors and mentor types can earn a Suit Badge.

raise money

When the full site launches in June 2013, users will be able to launch and contribute to projects, follow the activity of certain users, send messages and start and join groups. In addition, CrowdIt will offer both full and partial funding options to raise money so users can still keep the money they raise, even if they don’t make it all the way to their goals.

The photo above on the left shows where users can enter the information for their project, and the photo on the right shows an example of what a project’s page on the site will look like.

Graf explained that as an entrepreneur himself, he found that both lack of capital and lack of experience could get in the way of business success. When he stumbled upon Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites, he thought the general idea was a great one. But as time went on, he noticed that there was room for improvement. So he recruited a team and spent the last several months building what would become CrowdIt.

He described CrowdIt as a “second generation crowdfunding site,” with established players like Kickstarter making up the first generation. Kickstarter is continuing to grow, though, with 18,109 successfully funded projects in 2012 compared to 11,836 in 2011.

CrowdIt is based in Springfield, Missouri. The startup is part of MSU’s e-factory incubator and also recently completed its first venture capital funding round from Baron VC. Currently, all accounts on the site are free (though it will charge the standard 5% for projects that reach their goals and 10% for projects that don’t), but Graf said the company is open to creating new revenue streams in the future.

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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