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A Brief History of Crowdfunding

  • #1

    Crowdfunding is a way of financing a project by pooling the donations of many individuals.

    In other words, it means a whole bunch of people each give you a little bit of help financing your project (artistic or otherwise).

    The basic idea is not new – humanitarian organizations have been doing it for decades. But the game has changed radically with the advent of new information and communication technologies. The movement picked up speed and grew to include individuals with the emergence of blogs and social networks, as well as improvements in micro-payment services like PayPal.

    Suddenly, someone with an idea for a project could create a blog to tell people about his idea, spread the word through his network and, with a few clicks, open an online account to receive micro-payments. With this model, people were less dependent on grants and external financing, and they could spread the risk among multiple donors to the point that it became negligible.

    Beyond artistic projects, crowdfunding also makes it possible for modern-day patrons to help fund a service. That’s what happened with Wikipedia, which has been covering its costs with the help of donors since 2003. It’s also a way to support a cause, such as Tela Botanica, which was founded in 1999 with micro-funding by French botanists. This network of French-speaking botanists was created to encourage support for the teaching of botany.

    Nowadays, it’s a frequently used method for coming up with extra funds: for music and film projects, of course, but also for stage and publishing. People who are involved in citizen science, who still don’t have access to government or private funding because their projects aren’t considered potentially profitable, are also turning to crowdfunding. And, little by little, so are people involved in sports.

    In the coming decade, we’ll undoubtedly see an increase in crowdfunded projects. At a time when “free” is becoming the norm in a society that’s producing more and more artistic, social and humanitarian projects, micro-funding appears to be enjoying its day in the sun. It’s a positive way to directly support good ideas, relieving project founders of the burden of seeking large sums and going through the cumbersome procedures of investment, which can be exhausting and keep them from their primary goal: to make good things happen.

    So. Is Ulule just another crowdfunding service? Yes and no.

    Yes, because Ulule lets you organize your funding campaigns simply, efficiently and transparently. 
    No, because there’s more to it than that: much of the interaction will take place before the search for funding even begins. Getting advice, exchanging tips, drumming up support… Ulule is a universe that, we hope, will help put luck on your side. That's also why we don't take any commission on your supports.

     Posted on 13 October 2010 at 18 h 22 (6 years, 6 months ago)

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