Indiegogo to accept Canadian dollars and offer crowdfunding platform in French

Financial Post | Christine Dobby | Dec 5, 2012 10:00 AM ET | Last Updated: Dec 5, 2012 10:01 AM ET

money in flower pot 205x300 - Indiegogo to accept Canadian dollars and offer crowdfunding platform in French

Canadians may know Indiegogo as the website a Toronto man used to round up more than US$700,000 to send bullied New York-state bus monitor Karen Klein on a vacation.

The crowdfunding site, which works by taking a percentage of the funds raised by campaigns on the platform, has been a popular way to launch artistic projects and raise money for charitable causes.

But cash-strapped entrepreneurs in this country’s tech and gaming community have also been increasingly turning to Indiegogo to get projects off the ground and that number could grow as the company said Wednesday it will offer transactions in Canadian dollars.

Two current Canadian tech campaigns include Toronto’s Interaxon, which has raised more than US$235,000 to bring its brain-sensing headband dubbed “Muse” to market, and Vancouver-based, which is looking for US$100,000 for its device that lets apps connect with your car.

Unlike rival platform Kickstarter — the site used by Canadian-born Eric Migicovsky to raise more than US$10-million for his Pebble watch project — Indiegogo does not require users to be permanent U.S. (or United Kingdom) residents.

Canada is Indiegogo’s second biggest market outside the U.S. and on top of accepting Canadian money, the company said Wednesday the platform will be available in French later this month.

“Canada was one of first countries to embrace us that wasn’t the U.S. We’ve had Canadian campaigns on Indiegogo since pretty much the beginning,” co-founder Danae Ringelmann said in an interview.

Seventy per cent of Indiegogo’s business comes from U.S. campaigns and Canada makes up a “strong percentage” of the international business, she said.

Until now, the site has only collected and disbursed funds in U.S. dollars (those who start campaigns must have a U.S. bank account).

“While most campaigns raise money from more than one country, still a large amount of funding comes from the country of origin, where the campaign is,” she said. “So we want to be able to provide a familiar funding experience.”

“There was a little bit of friction given the fact that we were only available in U.S. dollars so we wanted to completely remove that,” she added.

Indiegogo is also adding the euro and British pound sterling as available currencies, and will expand to offer the platform in German later this month. Next year, it will offer localized versions of its homepage to highlight popular campaigns in Canada, Britain, France and Germany.

Ms. Ringelmann was at the LeWeb tech conference in Paris, France Wednesday morning to announce the changes.

Like other crowdfunding Web platforms, Indiegogo makes money by taking a cut of the funds raised.

The San Francisco-based company, which was founded in 2008 and is backed by US$16.5-million in venture funding, takes 4% of the funds raised if a campaign reaches its funding goal.

danae ringelmann - Indiegogo to accept Canadian dollars and offer crowdfunding platform in French
Handout/IndiegogoDanae Ringelmann, co-founder of Indiegogo.

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