While it is plain to see the effects of the European crisis, we went in search of the emerging solutions.
With the Spanish banks in trouble from having over-lent on risky loans, they are now so strapped for cash and fearful they have halted almost all new lending. Not only are the banks not lending to businesses, many businesses are moving their money outside of the country to invest their own funds elsewhere. The situation is dire and the next generation of entrepreneurs are having a tough time finding work or funds to start their own business. Enter crowdfunding.
For those unfamiliar with crowdfunding, it is an online service that helps a person with a project in mind reach out across their social media networks to friends, fans, followers and beyond in hopes of raising money the money necessary to make the project happen. There are three main branches of crowdfunding: donations, loans and investments, but typically they are referred to as crowdfunding, crowd-lending and crowd-investing. Under the donation model, the project creator often offers some form of reward for anyone who donates, and the more you donate the larger the reward you can chose to receive.
With the banks not lending, crowdfunding offers innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs a way to reach out directly to people in hopes of attaining a large number of small donations that can sum up to the amount needed.
#Goteo and #MegaFounder
We met with Enric Senabre one of the founders of Goteo and Jonathan Garcia the founder of MegaFounder and quickly learned of their plans to tackle the problem.
Goteo, established in 2010, has already become very established in Spain for its platform that helps crowdfund open technologies through the donation-based model. Unlike KickStarter or IndieGoGo, Goteo will only allow projects on their platform that offer an element that is open-source and not copyrighted. While a project may have a second stage that is proprietary, there must be a component that gives back to society as a whole. The fundamental goal is to encourage collaboration of ideas, resources and funding to create a communal product. This concept is taking off especially well in Spain, where the youth are highly educated yet salaries and employment levels are very low.
MegaFounder. While it is unclear as to when regulations will change allowing MegaFounder to operate as a crowd-investing platform, they are building the platform and amassing a community. With the growing support of their social media followers it is clear that people are excited behind the idea of being able to invest in their community rather than put their money in the bank. In fact, the response is so great that not only are they gaining the support of community members but also community businesses. The lack of bank loans has dried up investments in start-ups and the local Girona business park has offered them an office rent free with hopes that MegaFounder will attract funds for other start-ups to begin refilling the building. In addition employees are at times offering to donate their time while building the company, with little luck finding employment elsewhere, they recognize that the success of the company will lead them to full-time work.
Crowd innovations remain in their early stages but here at Surge we feel they are a necessary step in building sustainable economies. Through technology we are able to build platforms that creative and hardworking people around a common goal. Here at Surge we’ve already created a crowdfunding platform in the past and may be able to help you take your crowd idea to market.