Crowdfunding website Indiegogo is doubling down on Australia, announcing increased staff in the country and support for contributions to campaigns in Australian dollars.
While Indiegogo has been in Australia since 2008, the website previously forced Australians to make pledges and raise funds in US dollars. This meant that banks and credit card companies would assess international conversion and transaction fees.
Australia is now Indiegogo’s fifth largest market, and the amount of money raised for Australian campaigns has grown by 275 per cent in the last year alone, said Indiegogo co-founder Danae Ringelmann.
“It shows that the Australian market is super entrepreneurial, super creative, super innovative [and] super cutting edge,” Ringelmann said at a media conference today in Sydney.
Taking away the fees is a move to remove friction from the contribution process and encourage more donations through the Indiegogo platform, Ringelmann said. The company has seen large increases in donations in other countries outside the US where it has enabled national currencies, she said.
To make the change happen, Indiegogo has strengthened its global payment back-end and partnered with PayPal, she said.
Ringelmann said crowdfunding is a great alternative fundraising tool for entrepreneurs who have been “locked out of traditional finance”.
But getting money isn’t the only benefit, she said. “It’s about validating your ideas. It’s about gaining confidence that you’re working on something the world wants.”
Two Indiegogo users at the media event said crowdfunding has been critical to funding their ideas.
Daniel Sanguineti, a film producer, said the funding was critical to getting the monster makeup right for an Australian zombie comedy, Me and My Mates vs The Zombie Apocalypse. The film has raised US$41,439 on Indiegogo, more than meeting its $30,000 goal.
The co-founders of a startup called Conscious Step, which donates money toward a cause every time someone buys a pair of socks, said they are raising money on Indiegogo to cover the minimum order requirement to manufacture the socks. The company has so far raised US$12,759 toward a US$20,000 goal. The campaign ends in 10 days.
Indiegogo was a “good fit” for a social enterprise like Conscious Step, said co-founder Hassan Ahmad. “Some of the other platforms out there either didn’t really encourage it, or they simply didn’t allow it.”