Technology: The Explosion of Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is considered to be “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large group of people, typically via the Internet”. Here, we will explore the explosion of crowdfunding and how it is changing the way that we do business in the technology age.

The explosion of crowdfunding is staggering. It has become a global phenomenon that raised $6.1 billion in contributions in 2013, expanded by 165 percent in 2014 to $16.2 billion and 2015 is forecast to be another bumper year with anticpiated volumes of $34.4 billion.

The strong growth in 2014 was due in part to the rise of Asia as a major crowdfunding region. Asian crowdfunding volumes grew by 320 percent, to $3.4 billion raised. That puts the region slightly ahead of Europe ($3.26 billion) as the second-biggest region by crowdfunding volume. North America continued to lead the world in crowdfunding volumes, growing by 145 percent and raising a total of $9.46 billion.Word Cloud

Yet, crowdfunding isn’t solely a product of the Internet age. It stems from microfinance, which is a process that involves lending funds to low-income individuals who are often unable to take advantage of the financial mechanisms of the wealthy. Delving into the misty depths of history brings up many examples of microfinance. For example, in the eighteenth century, Jonathon Swift created the Irish Loan Fund and lent money to considerable numbers of poor families in rural Ireland.

Back to the future…the four main forms of crowdfunding that are and will revolutionise investing are:

Donation-based crowdfunding – For example…Shareagift! This strand involves contributing to something you desire or a cause you believe in, be that a wedding gift for a friend, a charity fundraising project or a group vacation.

Reward-based crowdfunding – An example of this would be Kickstarter who fund creative projects. Here, contributors are rewarded for funding business projects with diverse gifts, such as tickets to a party or having their name included on an album sleeve.

Equity-based crowdfunding – Investors in a start-up receive shares in the business in return for their funds.

cf 3

Lending-based crowdfunding – Also known as peer-to-peer lending, this process enables investors to receive interest at a later date from the business they invest in. Investors spread their risk by investing small amounts in a range of companies.

But why has crowdfunding grown monumentally? Well, the principal cause is technology. The Internet has made it possible to transfer funds to disparate individuals easily and social networking has granted crowdfunding a powerful virality. Nonetheless, the explosion of crowdfunding has also come at a time when there is widespread hostility towards the traditional financial mechanisms because the 2008 Financial Crash condemned corporate banks in the eyes of a significant proportion of the world’s population. Crowdfunding has, thus, materialised as a true alternative because it offers personable interactions, grassroots support and an incomparable network of willing investors who can enable businesses and campaigners to access funds that they may have been denied by traditional financial institutions. Now crowdfunding is here to stay and investors can ill-afford to ignore it!

Try it for yourself. Group fund any gift, cause or experience with Shareagift at www.shareagift.com

Best Shared Experiences To Enjoy When You’re Young

Incredible experiences are often enhanced by whom we share them with. What’s more, taking on these adventures with friends can sometimes push us out of our comfort zones and enable us to enjoy anything from incomparable travel adventures to new hobbies that we hadn’t previously considered. Here we list some of the best shared experiences to enjoy when you are young.

Experience 1

  1. House Sharing  – Going out into the big, bad world and living independently helps young people to accrue heaps of discipline in a short space of time. Living together with similarly financially challenged friends when you are young is fun, liberating and character building. You also really get a good glimpse into your own soul and that of others when you are forced to deal with a flatmate leaving their washing in the machine over a weekend or endure an impressive pile of plates in the sink that blocks out the sun.

Experience 2

  1. Backpacking  – Backpacking and travelling when you are young on a small budget is widely advocated because it involves exploring other cultures and challenging yourself physically and mentally. But these travel experiences are best enjoyed with a friend because the support of a fellow traveller can push you to interact with the backpacking pilgrims you encounter wherever your journey takes you.
  1. Music Festivals

 

Experience 3

Shared music festival experiences are guaranteed to produce memories that will stay with you. But it’s not all about the music and the partying. Music festivals hark back to a simpler existence and often provide an authentic community experience. This is in stark contrast to the hustle-and-bustle of modern life and, for that reason, it’s beneficial to rekindle some of this community spirit whenever you can.

 

  1. Extreme Sports

Experience 4

Whether you opt for BASE jumping off Yosemite’s El Capitan or white-water rafting down the Zambezi, there is more to extreme sports than the adrenaline rush. These experiences provide a perfect antidote to our safety-conscious world and enable us to appreciate the sheer power of nature. Why should this experience be shared? Somebody has to give you a bit of a push when you get scared!

 

  1. Volunteering

experience 5Volunteering offers you the chance to expand your horizons while putting the skills you have gained throughout school and college to the test. In particular, volunteering abroad can offer you a monumental insight into different cultures and provide a worldly view that will stand you in good stead in the commercial field as well. Most importantly, these experiences help us to appreciate what we have and respect differences when we encounter them. But such a step into a different world can be daunting, so why not walk it together with a friend?

Sign up to www.shareagift.com, create a page and share it among your friends to fund your next group experience. Start funding your experience in 3 simple steps.

CREATE – SHARE – TRACK

How to Crowd Fund your Party with Shareagift

This is one of my favourite user stories of 2012.

Back in September of last year, the delightful Gráinne (who I have had the pleasure of speaking to many times) decided she wanted to to organise a once in a lifetime surprise party for her husband, Andreas’, 50th birthday. Happily for us, she came across Shareagift online and used our site to crowd-fund the party, inviting his friends and family to contribute to one really special evening.

Gráinne collected over €800 to her Shareagift Page, so she could organise a private ‘party bus‘ to take her, Andreas and 30 of their friends around the city. Collecting funds from friends around the world over several months, Gráinne kept the whole thing a secret from Andreas, so it was a total surprise when he arrived to find his name lit up in lights on the bus and all his friends there ready to celebrate with him.

Gráinne surprises Andreas on the big day!
Gráinne surprises Andreas on the big day!

I gather it was a beautifully raucous affair! Complete with champagne and dancing and general merriment – in that wonderfully Irish tradition – followed by a spoiling dinner at one of their favourite Irish pub afterwards. Gráinne even sent us an amazing video of the party bus afterwards so we could get a flavour of the evening – it looked like epic fun indeed, and no doubt a sore head or two the following day 😉

The Party Bus makes its way around Paris!
The Party Bus makes its way around Paris!

We were all horribly jealous in the office to hear about their amazing adventure, but thrilled to have been able to help along the way. Gráinne, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you so much for your time and your contributions – you gave us some awesome ideas and some invaluable feedback – and we’ve loved being in touch with you.

Thank you to Johannes Berghoff for letting us use his brilliant photos to tell the story, and Gráinne for your kind words to our team after the event:

“Just a short email to say a BIG thank you for a super website, and a super idea. Andreas’s surprise 50th birthday was a huge success, and it was a huge help to me to have found your website and have everyone contribute to what ended up being quite a costly evening. But it was definitely worth it! Many thanks to you, and to your team for all your help, quick responses and solutions!”

And we hope Gráinne’s story will inspire a ton of other people to use Shareagift to crowd fund their parties and give other friends and family the evening of a lifetime.