September 26th, 2018
The Leader: Tim Ryan, Tilt Canada
Tilt Canada is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month and has grown significantly, with Canadians contributing or collecting money on the app every two minutes.
Tim Ryan was planning an annual ski trip with friends and looking for a hassle-free way to collect everyone’s contributions when he came across Tilt.
“I’d always dealt with like, 50 email transfers, some people giving me cash, some people never paying me back,” he says. After finding out the crowdfunding platform was not yet available in Canada, he casually sent an email to the company’s CEO and vowed to be its first user if they ever crossed the border.
As it turned out, a move was in the cards, and within a few months, Ryan — founder and CEO of Vestiigo, a startup acquired by TalentLab in 2012 that aimed to link pre-screened job candidates to small- and medium-sized businesses quickly — became the country manager in Canada.
Under Ryan’s leadership, Tilt Canada is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month and has grown significantly, with Canadians contributing or collecting money on the app every two minutes. He spoke with The Star about what makes Tilt special, how Canadian crowdfunding campaigns are different from American ones, and what he looks for in new hires.
What makes Tilt different from other crowdfunding platforms?
“I think most people associate that term with Indiegogo and Kickstarter, which are very niche and focus on a very specific kind of audience. Kickstarter focuses on building something or launching a company. Indiegogo tends to be about indie films and maybe non-profit kind of stuff. Tilt is the underlying layer of crowdfunding — everything from a barbecue with friends to a massive fundraising campaign. We don’t really distinguish the use. We just make it really easy to pool money between friends, family, and colleagues, and that’s all we focus on.”
What are some of the most interesting campaigns that you’ve seen?
“We’ve seen the full gamut of stuff. One of the most amazing, and obviously really sad, campaigns, in terms of collective action and people coming together was the Elijah Marsh campaign. That was one where the entire city came together to help that family in the worst of times ... Another touching one we saw was one where a couple had moved to New York, and right as they got there, their apartment was burgled and they lost everything. They didn’t have insurance set up ... So their friends back in Toronto started a campaign to help pay for all the things that were stolen without them even knowing. The whole group rallied together
And then you see ski trips, bachelorettes, and trips with friends abroad, the full gamut. There was one where a family got together to pay for their nephew’s school tuition. What makes Tilt unique is that it harks back to an earlier time when in order to get something done, you needed to pool your resources together. That, at the end of the day, is Tilt’s foundation. The original need for a village or a community because you couldn’t do things on your own.”
How are Canadian campaigns different from American ones?
“When we set up Tilt Canada, we had nothing to go by, so we didn’t know what Canadians were going to do. I’ve found Canadians are a little more conservative, a little more pragmatic, whereas our American neighbours are more bombastic and have the crazy ideas.
At the time, someone was crowdfunding a jet to go to Vegas. I honestly don’t see Canadians doing those sorts of things ... People use it to solve a pain point. You see people doing boring, mundane things a lot of the time, like groceries and collecting money for rink time. You won’t read them as headlines in a newspaper.”
The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, leadership, support and networking opportunities to over 1100+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding industry in Canada. Learn more About Us or visit ncfacanada.org.