Trivia: Do you know who funded statue of liberty? In fact, fundraising for the statute proved difficult, and work on the pedestal was suspended for a while due to lack of funds. However, it was crowdfunding that made this 46 metre high gift long French gift to Americans very much possible. Around 120,000 contributors participated in the donation drive, most of whom gave less than a dollar.
Currently, the adoption of crowdfunding concept is in very nascent in India as compared to US; however the power of crowd seems to be catching eyeballs. Focused on leveraging the reach and power of the crowd, Mumbai based Ignite Intent has launched a platform for entrepreneurs, startups and college projects.
Unlike equity crowdfunding – where funders share profit based on equity, Ignite Intent follows an incentive (reward) based crowdfunding model – in which many individuals make micro-investments into businesses. “Through our platform most ‘donors’ get a t-shirt or early discounts on a product being pitched.” said Rinikesh Shah, founder of Ignite Intent.
Ignite Intent has started off the hard way as the most difficult categories in crowdfunding globally are startups and college projects. Music, films etc are easier categories for crowdfunding approach, Ignite Intent started of with the former.
As of now, most of the funding has come in two projects – Multi Talented Robot and IIT Bombay Racing. “There were 16 funders in all for these 2 projects. As far as type of funders are concerned, they have been mix of known and unknown supporters, said Shah.”
Ignite Intent helps startups, college projects and entrepreneurs with marketing plan. Besides college projects, the platform has also helped startups like Punexpress, a Pune focused online grocery store. Talking about the nature of engagement with startups, Shah said “ Startups like PuneExpress are at nascent stages and in order to sustain and grow till the time big VCs come in to the picture, crowdfunding becomes a major source of funds and marketing for them.”
Safeguards for and privacy of a business plan is one of the major issue with crowdfunding platforms globally. However Ignite Intent claims that members have the freedom to share details to the extent they wish to. “They should preferably open up their idea only to an extent that will generate interest and get the funds,”added Shah.
Ignite Intents’ team is a mix of advisors and outsourcing partners across marketing, IT, and developers, amongst several others.