Crowd funding is an increasingly popular way for aspiring entrepreneurs to raise funds for kick-starting their business ideas. Crowd funding – also known as crowd financing or hyper funding – allows people to network and pool together money and resources to invest and support in projects or initiatives started by others. Such “investors” can have an option to either own a small portion of the company, or purchase future products and services at a discounted price.
And by now you should have heard of Kickstarter – the online crowd funding platform shot to even more fame when it helped Pebble, an e-paper watch for iPhone and Android, raise over US$10 million from almost 70,000 backers in a very short time. Kickstarter has also seen a wide variety of projects running the gamut from funding a titanium bike lock project to even helping launch a brewery. Possibilities are near endless.
Making A Mobile Whiteboard
But not all projects tend to be incredibly ground-breaking – most of them are simply creative, just plain fun, or is practical and addresses a certain need.
One of the latest projects to be put up on Kickstarter is “The Artist“, a new type of whiteboard designed to look like a stylish artist’s portfolio and is portable. Developed by 29-year old Bhushan Lele, “The Artist” stemmed from his interest in using whiteboards as a creativity and planning tool. While studying at the University of Michigan, Lele got a bookbinder to hack together a large hardcover book with a whiteboard panel within and used it daily.
“I really loved using the product, and people started asking me about it at the coffee shops and university common areas I would visit,” recalls Lele. “Since then, I have gotten 200 pieces produced to test the market.” That passion for whiteboards has also led to him coming up with other ideas for improving the whiteboard experience.
Writing Off Illness
Another interesting project currently on Kickstarter is CapsulePen, a pen-shaped pillbox that allows the user to load up pills of any size in the order they are to be taken. The brainchild of serial entrepreneur Joseph Cote (who formerly founded Dance.com), the CapsulePen is really a discreet and convenient way for those who need to take medication to carry them around.
The idea came about when Cote was browsing through the inferior and inconvenient pillbox options at a local pharmacy or an online pharmacy. “I couldn’t believe the lack of options, and how indiscreet and impractical those options where,” says Cote. “At the pace that we live, we demand things that fit neatly into our lives and actually help instead of hinder our goal of becoming healthier. All I saw were cumbersome, poorly thought-out variations. We all own that ugly “pill case” that sits in our bathroom gathering dust.”
But Lele and Cote are but amongst hundreds of inventive entrepreneurs who see a problem and attempt to solve it. A crowd funding service like Kickstarter merely helps them find potential financing to bring their ideas to fruition. If you have a solution to a problem but the venture capitalists are taking a wide berth, you may want to explore crowd funding as an option.