Jim Armitage: The crowdfunding throng is growing fast

Global Outlook

Subscribers to the showbiz news website Popbitch this week learnt more than the usual celebrity gossip. Alongside the truth behind those stories about Chris Huhne's Twix bars in Wandsworth Prison were details of Popbitch's plans to raise expansion money through a crowdfunding effort run by Kickstarter.

That's nothing new in the media world. Kickstarter has raised $500m for creative projects like this since launching in 2009. People with ideas for movie productions, theatre shows or fashion designs use the site in their thousands in search of investors to move their dreams from drawing board to reality.

Essentially, investors view a beauty parade of project ideas to which they can donate in exchange for some kind of a return. In Popbitch's case, you get a load of free content, tickets to parties and other goodies.

But Silicon Valley is abuzz this weekend with news from a younger crowdfunding website: Crowdtilt. It only launched last year, and is basically like Kickstarter – but for absolutely any kind of cause or project. Thanks to its wider range (and lower fees), it has rapidly become hugely popular in the US, with users raising $3m in its first three months alone.

There has been something of a bubble in the crowdfunding market since US legislation last year relaxed the consumer protection regulations around them.

More than 500 sites are currently operating across the world. That is absurdly unsustainable, of course, and the next year or two will see massive consolidation and closures. But the winners – led by Kickstarter – are rapidly beginning to look like real businesses. So tech investors have been desperately trying to work out which horses to back.

Hence the excitement when it emerged yesterday that Napster co-founder Sean Parker had backed a $12m investment in Crowdtilt to expand its mobile technology. Small beer now, but don't be surprised if crowdfunding soon comes under the gaze of the bigger boys with cash for acquisitions.

Mr Parker and his fellow investors figure that the likes of Amazon or Facebook could always create their own Crowdtilt from scratch, but why bother when they could snap one up off the peg for a few hundred million? Ker-ching.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sales?Do you have a keen interes...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Adviser - OTE £30,000

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Assistant / Buyer

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high