A new organization has been brought to my attention which I feel would really benefit our members. Sponsume is a new online platform to help individuals and organisations promote and crowd source the funding of their projects.
The site soft-launched this week and is the brainchild of Grégory Vincent, an ex-financial analyst and fund manager for M&G Investments, the investment branch of Prudential Plc. The London-based startup is currently bootstrapped with funding from ‘friends and family’.
At Sponsume’s heart is the ability to let entrepreneurs, artists, charities, inventors, or just about anybody, raise funds for their idea through the sale of project vouchers, which can – should the project go ahead – be redeemed for various rewards. These can be almost anything, except equity and intellectual property rights, with the contract existing between the user and project owner, not Sponsume itself.
So, for example, an artist might want to raise money for an exhibition of their work. Sponsume users, should they want to support the artist and see the exhibit go ahead, would purchase vouchers in advance that would later see them gain entry and/or get a print of the artist’s work. If the total funding needed isn’t raised before the deadline and the exhibition doesn’t go ahead, users get their money back (minus any PayPal fees, according to the site’s FAQs). In this aspect, it’s very close to the model that Groupon-style group buying sites employ.
Similarly, project owners are encouraged to make their ideas go viral by sharing a link to their Sponsume project via social networks such as Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook etc.
A project owner gets their own profile on Sponsume and can upload a promotional video. While the amount of funding that projects can try to raise can be anything between £200 to £50,000. Sponsume also insists on keeping a 12.5% deposit to discourage projects that don’t deliver on their voucher’s promise, which is then released at a later date.
Right now Sponsume is free for project owners to use but at a later stage the company plans on charging commission of around five percent of the total raised. Other revenue streams include interest earned on accounts, sponsored placements and partnering with video production companies.
The kind of projects that Sponsumer sees itself attracting include new businesses, new products, charity events, exhibitions, concerts, new albums, documentaries, films, sporting events, classes and conferences. Currently, only EU projects are being accepted.
You can follow Sponsume on Twitter to get more updates or ask questions.
Since posting about Sponsume above, another organisation has come to light called KickStarter.
Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. We're a great way for artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers, illustrators, explorers, curators, promoters, performers, and others to bring their projects and ambitions to life. Project creators inspire people to open their wallets by offering products, benefits, and fun experiences. (For more on our approach, check out Where Projects Come From.)
Kickstarter is not a place for charity projects, raising funds for business expenses (rent, payroll, etc), soliciting donations to causes (medical bills, etc), or having people fund your life (travel, living expenses, etc).
Kickstarter can not be used to solicit investment or loans. Projects may not offer financial return or equity under any circumstances.
Lotteries, raffles, and sweepstakes are forbidden.
Currently a US bank account and address are required to start a project. This is a restriction by Amazon, who is their payments processor. If you don't have a US bank account and are interested in starting a project, they appreciate your patience. This will change, but they don't know when.
You can follow KickStarter on Twitter too.