Small business owners frequently do not have the capital to pursue new venues, and they can find it difficult to secure loans from banks. Startups and entrepreneurs may find many lending doors closed to them when they need it most. Crowdfunding is one way to obtain needed funds to bring your innovative business ideas from dream to reality. Below you will find 30 crowdfunding sites, organized by specialty, to get you off the ground. Commissions, fees, and terms vary or change from time to time, so always double check the “fine print,” as the saying goes.
Indiegogo allows you to raise funds for anything. You can choose an all-or-nothing option or an option that allows you to keep funds you have raised even if you haven’t met your goal. They charge a 3% – $25 transaction fee and either 4% or 9% depending on if you meet your goal or if you choose to walk away with funds without meeting your goal. They also offer non-profit discounts on their fees.
Another general fundraising site is GoFundMe. They charge a 5% commission and a 3% transaction fee.
Fundly allows you to raise funds even from your mobile device. It is social integrated and lets you post blog updates on your fundraising page. Its monthly fee schedule is based on how many campaigns you want to run at once (one at a time has no monthly fee, 4.9% commission and 3% transaction fees).
FunderHut is a crowdfunding service that targets small businesses, communities, non-profits and individuals. Their all-or-nothing campaigns have a 5% fee if the goal is reached and a 3% payment processing fee. If you choose the “variable” plan, you pay 7.5% if you do not meet your goal.
CrowdTilt is an all-or-nothing crowdfunding website that focuses on getting funds from groups. It charges 5% on its “Sell Something” campaigns, but transaction fees are free.
If you want to do donation fundraising from your own WordPress site, WpmuDev offers a plugin for a flat rate of $19 and only Paypal transaction fees after that.
Reward: Free or Discounted Product Received in Return
Rockethub allows you to find other funding if your goal is not met. There is a 4% commission for successful projects or 8% for those that don’t meet their funding goals, as well as a 4% transaction fee.
If you want to get your community involved, Small Knot focuses on encouraging people in your community to fund your projects in exchange for special perks, services, goods, or benefits. They charge 3% for successful campaigns and 2.9% for transactions.
Kickstarter, probably the best known crowdfunding site, is an all-or-nothing crowdfunding platform (you must reach your fundraising goal or you receive no funds) for creative works (technology, food, fashion, etc.). You set your goal and offer an incentive. If you reach your goal, there is a 5% project fee and 3 – 5% transaction fees.
FundAnything is Donald Trump’s reward-based fundraising platform. Like others, there is a 9% fee if you do not meet your goals and a 4% fee if you do with a 3% transaction fee.
Focusing on entrepreneurs and small businesses, Peerbackers allows you to find funding from your friends in exchange for rewards. They charge a 5% “success fee” and a 2.9% transaction processing fee.
InvestedIn is a reward based crowdfunding platform that allows you to create your own fundraising group.
Debt Platform: You Pay Back the Funds to the Investor With Interest
The LendingClub offers businesses the loans they may not be able to find elsewhere. Interest rates vary based on your financial information and credit score.
Funding Circle US focuses on offering loans to US businesses and allows others to invest in loans. Again, your interest rates will be determined by your credit score. There is also a UK website.
You can receive interest-free loans through Kiva or Kiva Zip if you are located in the US or Kenya. For startups that would prefer repaying donated funds, this is a great method of raising them.
Equity Platform: The Investor Owns a Share of Your Company
You have the option of offering rewards or equity with Fundable. They have their own marketing platform and you set minimum donations for rewards (equity minimums must $1000). There is a monthly fee during campaigns.
RockThePost has been around for a while but is undergoing a fee transition, so you will have to check their website for more details. However, under the new scale, you can choose how much you want them to handle your fundraising for you. Right now it costs nothing if you do it all yourself.
Despite its name, MicroVentures helps startups and businesses generate $100,000 – $1,000,000 in capital in the entertainment, tech, social, and gaming sectors.
CircleUp is looking for innovative retail and consumer companies. Your company needs to be able to show it can turn a profit in 1 – 3 years to get accepted.
For a variety of equity options, try EarlyShares. Terms vary based upon the options you choose.
Niche: For Special Fundraising Needs
If you need funding for app creation, pitch your idea to Apps Funder and reward investors or offer them return on their money. This is an all-or-nothing funding website. They charge 8% commission on completed campaigns, 3% transaction fee, and 5% of revenue when the app is finished.
VentureHealth is an equity based funding platform that specifically seeks entrepreneurs with technology in the health sector. They do not fund research, but they target biotechnology, healthcare services, medical devices, digital health, pharmaceuticals, and diagnostics. They charge 20% carried interest on profits.
Startacure is for cancer research funding. They charge 5% on all funds raised and 3% transaction fees.
Inventors and small business owners with product ideas, but little knowledge on how to build and market their products themselves may want to give Quirky a try. It is not a typical crowdfunding website in that you get a commission for your product based on how much of the process you put into it. The crowd helps select products that get to make it past the first stages.
Artists (in the broad sense of the term) can use Fractured Atlas to find space and obtain business scholarships. Their free artful.ly software allows you to get donations, sell tickets, and track your fans right from your own webpage.
RealtyShares offers investment money for people who flip houses. It is a debt service that requires value added repayment in 6 – 18 months.
If you need funds for an event (or want to sell tickets to a fundraising event), you can use MyEvent to do it. The basic membership is free. Other memberships range from $19.95 – $39.95 per month.
Authors can find people to fund their books at Unbound in exchange for a copy of the book and possibly a goodie bag upon publication. You must pitch your book to them.
TechMoola offers reward crowdfunding for innovation and technology. It charges a 10% flat rate for met goals, 15% for unmet goals less than $25,000 and 20% for unmet goals over that amount.
Musicians can use Pledge Music to post and market their needs. They charge a 15% flat commission. It covers transaction costs, and they give you tips for meeting your goals.
Slated is a niche crowdfunding resource for film that brings industry, filmmakers, and investors together.
I’d love to hear about any experiences you’ve had with crowdfunding sites.