Raising capital: Getting off the ground via crowdfunding

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Vancouver Sun by Brian Morton | August 12, 2013

Anti-robot concept one of several money-raising successes to be discussed at Indiegogo conference

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Vancouver’s Jonathan Tippett sought crowdfunding to get his Prosthesis anti-robot project completed. Source: Vancouver Sun

Vancouver artist Jonathan Tippett needs to raise $150,000 to get Prosthesis, the anti-robot, up and running. Or at least walking.

So he turned to crowdfunding, an emerging trend in raising money that involves soliciting donations over the Internet for projects or even causes.

“It hinges around the pursuit of physical mastery and the age-old impetus for humans to master physical skills,” says Tippett of his anti-robot, a 100 per cent human-controlled, two-storey tall, 3,500-kilogram, four-legged, wearable walking machine that is being built by volunteers at the eatART Laboratory in Vancouver and slated for completion in August 2015.

“Having no automated control system, and relying entirely on the skill of the pilot for its operation, Prosthesis is the world’s first sports robot.”

Tippett’s concept is one of several crowdfunding successes to be highlighted in Vancouver on Tuesday by Indiegogo, one of the most popular crowdfunding sites, which is hosting its first Vancouver session at the Roundhouse Community Centre.

Tippett said his project requires a crowdfunding campaign in order to get completed.

“Details aren’t finalized, but I think we’ll offer (donors) opportunities to operate the machine,” he says.

Tippett is among a growing list of people and organizations turning to crowdfunding sites to raise funds for everything from artistic ventures to business start-ups, even to purchase videos allegedly showing a big-city mayor smoking crack cocaine.

According to the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada, the global crowdfunding industry is predicted to accelerate to $5.1 billion in 2013. Canada, with over 52 crowdfunding portals, is Indiegogo’s second-largest market, with the number of active campaigns increasing by 213 per cent in the last year. A successful campaign must involve engaging people, said Indiegogo founder Danae Ringelmann.

“The pitch should have a video. The video should have someone talking about their project and not just what it is, but why it needs to come to life,” Ringelmann says.

“And you want to offer unique and custom perks to get funders excited about contributing.”

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