Crowdtilt Raises $23M to Take Crowdfunding Web-Wide

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Wall Street Journal Blog | Lora Kolodny | Dec 16, 2013

Crowdtilt raises capital

A startup that wants to let people run crowdfunding campaigns wherever and however they want to online, Crowdtilt Inc., raised $23 million in Series B venture funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, and joined by SV Angel and Sean Parker, said co-founder and Chief Executive James Beshara.

Crowdtilt, a graduate of the Y Combinator accelerator, has been in a rapid growth spurt following the launch of its mobile app, API and Crowdhoster tools.

The company started out with a focus on group payments.

Its original app lets people gather payments from friends and family, colleagues or community to buy things they will use together, or cover the costs of shared experiences. Think: splitting the bill evenly for a weekend ski trip in Tahoe; or helping a family out with contributions to cover the cost of a funeral.

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The Crowdtilt API and Crowdhoster app–the latter enabling users create a crowdfunding page without ever touching code–set the young startup apart from earlier success stories in the crowdfunding realm like Kickstarter Inc. or Indiegogo Inc.

Crowdtilt’s newer tools allow developers or fundraisers without technical skills to “pre-sell, group fund or fundraise” on their own domains or Web pages, where they can “customize their messaging and design” and “keep the full attention” of their backers, Mr. Beshara explained.

In April, Crowdtilt raised $12 million in a Series A funding round also led by Andreessen Horowitz, and tripled the size of its full-time staff, moving into a new office space in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood.

One day, the CEO wants to see brands like Nike “pre-tailing” a new run of its iconic Air Jordan 1 sneakers online, or the World Cup using Crowdtilt to pre-sell tickets, he says. But for now the company’s users have been smaller startups and individuals.

Among them have been Soylent, a startup that makes a meal-replacement shake and raised over $1 million with Crowdhoster; a 2014 Oakland mayoral candidate Bryan Parker; a would-be maker of electric- and gas-powered bicycles, Local Motors Inc.; and an independent publisher called McSweeney’s, founded by author and education activist Dave Eggers.

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