Fair, of New York, started Medstartr in 2012 after trying to pitch his project to Kickstarter. FairCareMD is an online “name-your-price” tool for healthcare services. “They don’t fund healthcare, so I wanted to create a platform where people with great ideas and innovations in that industry can go to crowdfund their projects,” he said.
Rhonda Smith of Miami Beach is finishing up her campaign with Medstartr to raise funds to develop an online educational tool, called i.T.H.R.I.V.E, for women who have survived breast cancer.
“As a breast cancer survivor myself, I wanted to create an online tool that will empower women and arm them with information,” said Smith, who is seeking $8,000 to develop i.T.H.R.I.V.E. Her Medstartr campaign ends Wednesday. Her MedStartr campaign ends Wednesday.
There are more than 300 donation-based crowdfunding sites online, from PeerBackers and Startup Addict for entrepreneurs to OurCrowd for those who want to invest in projects in Israel, there seems to be a site out there that caters to almost any interest. There’s Causes.com designed specifically for 501(c)(3) registered nonprofits to raise money. On sites like GoFundMe, Fundly and GiveForward, crowdfunding is being used to help the victims of the recent Boston Marathon bombing pay their medical bills.
A whopping $2.7 billion was pledged by individual donors through crowdfunding websites in 2012, according to Massolution, a Los Angeles-based research firm. That represents an 81 percent increase from the amount raised industry-wide in 2011.
Most crowdfunding sites make money by taking a small percentage of the money raised. In the case of Medstartr, it’s 5 to 10 percent. Kickstarter takes 5 percent of the money raised and additional payment processing fees that range from 3 to 5 percent. On Kickstarter, if your project doesn’t hit its goal, you don’t keep the money raised; On Medstartr there are two options with different fees. IndieGoGo charges 4 to 9 percent and lets you receive themoney raised, whether or not you hit your goal.
On most sites, backers can donate as little as $1 or thousands. Instead of getting an equity stake in the company, they get a token of appreciation such as a t-shirt, tote bag, the product itself or other thank you gift, based on the level of giving.
And there are new sites popping up all the time, including in South Florida.
Synergist, founded by 17-year-old Jared Kleinert, offers social entrepreneurs a place to find one another, collaborate on projects and raise funds and other support. Kleinert, who attends Spanish River High School in Boca Raton, is also promoting Synergist as the first crowdfunding company to raise money using its own platform. He’s trying to raise $25,000 on his platform, www.synergi.st, to grow his company, and he launched his crowdfunding campaign on Saturday.
“Synergist is about raising funds and opportunities with our site,” said Kleinert, who is working on a system where you don’t have to contribute just cash. “You can literally contribute anything you want — supplies, time, advice, free services that may be needed to get a project off the ground. This approach connects people to a project in a meaningful way.”
For a different twist on crowdfunding, Miami entrepreneurs Pedro Ast and Michael Tsinkler just launched Danggle, a Web app that allows you to ask your friends to help you raise money to buy the things you want, like jewelry, purses, a gadget or a vacation.