Review symposium Crowdfunding for Designers - Pakhuis de Zwijger

by: Mirjam Visser, 2013-09-23 17:51:17 UTC
Sustainability Aspects: Finding funding and support to get your sustainable projects to the market

The Story

DutchDesignStarter crowd

Wednesday the 18th of September 2013 Paul van den Bergh attended the “Crowdfunding for Designers” at Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam, herewith his review.

It was a symposium for those who have heard of the phenomenon and wanted to know more about it. Interesting speakers such as Robin Slakhorst of Symbid, Gijsbert Koren of Douw and Koren, and researcher Mart Evers spoke at the symposium. The lectures had more or less one and the same statement: “while crowdfunding is often seen as an easy and care-free way of raising money, crowdfunding is actually hard work”. That’s a lesson the other speakers – creators of specialized Dutch crowdfunding platforms such as voordekunst, oneplanetcrowd and dutchdesignstarter – should really take into consideration. A lot of work goes into creating a new, innovative and distinctive crowdfunding platform, it’s not an easy and care-free way of raising money through raising money.

Not everything that was said by Robin, Gijsbert, Tom (Crowdaboutnow) or Mart was unquestionably true. Robin at some point stated that crowdfunding platforms are history. Crowdfunding can and should be done through the personal or company’s website of the project creator. This is not the case, since Kickstarter, the biggest crowdfunding platform to this date, as a platform is listed as the fourth highest referral rate to Kickstarter projects. Nonetheless, their stories were solid, based on research and their companies were an distinct addition to the big crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Symbid is a company that enables people to buy shares and a voice in a way similar to crowdfunding. Symbid also has been aproved by the Dutch AFM, making it an official, but accessible, financial service. Douw and Koren is a down to earth guide for people and entrepreneurs wanting to get onto the crowdfunding train. Mart Evers researched thousands of different Indiegogo campaigns, collecting and analyzing information the hard-core way. While his findings were, for average informed crowdfunding enthusiasts, not a surprise, it was nice to see our expectations and assumptions about crowdfunding on Indiegogo backed by research. Crowdaboutnow is a crowd-lending platform that gives you back your investment with interest, but it comes with a risk since you’re supporting a company or entrepreneur.

Crowdfunding for Designers had also a different side: the pitch of vague indistinct Dutch crowdfunding platforms. Oneplanetcrowd (OPC) is a platform for crowdfunding everything related to sustainability. Whether products are sustainable enough is up to the curators of OPC, who have no real guidelines, just a gut-feeling according to the vague answers given by Linda Inpijn of OPC. Roy Cremers of Voordekunst (VDK) has set up a platform for people who love art. Ireen Laarakker of Dutchdesignstarter (DDS) might have had the most blurry story of them all, since they host crowdfunding campaigns started on other websites, while checking if they are a trustworthy candidate for crowdfunding. DDS was also the host of the evening, yet Ireen hadn’t prepared her story as well as she organized the event. Stumbling through the presentation on her unclear defined platform concept was not a graceful closure of this well organised evening.

Roy, Ireen and Linda seem to be creating Myspaces while Facebook is about to cross the ocean, or Facebook might already have arrived. Indiegogo is available in The Netherlands and Kickstarter will probably not sit and wait for Indiegogo to collect all the funds. Since Indiegogo and Kickstarter offer a way bigger crowd (see numbers below) they are two go-to platforms to get your funding. Kickstarter and Indiegogo both have art tags, and Indiegogo even has a sustainability tag, which make OPC and VDK obsolete. DDS might be able to save themselves if they just focus on branding Dutch design projects as safe and checked, but as a platform it is nothing new under the sun, while offering a very, very small crowd (the platform launched that same Thursday). The present crowd that Thursday got informed on the Dutch crowdfunding platforms, while getting almost no information on the big two, Kickstarter and Indiegogo, while they offer the best opportunity for designers. But I wasn’t the only one who knew. OPC, VDK and DDS also know that they offer very little in exchange for the smaller crowd, and that’s why they have ignored Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Well, in all honesty host Dutchdesignstarter did provide a spreadsheet comparing the different platforms, Kickstarter and Indiegogo were listed, but they conveniently withheld their impressive numbers. I have added them to the given list, finishing Ireens work. For those of you who can’t read Dutch:

Successful campaigns per platform since 2013

  • Symbid: 14
  • Crowdaboutnow: 21
  • Voordekunst: >400
  • Oneplanetcrowd: 16
  • Dutchdesignstarter: 0 (recently launched)
  • Indiegogo: 5000 (estimated first 9 months of 2012 from published numbers)
  • Kickstarter: 13500 (first 9 months of 2012)

This means that Kickstarter alone is 30 times bigger than all of the Dutch crowdfunding platforms together, just by looking at the successful projects (not to talk about the visitors, pledged dollars in total, etc). Easy decision right? – Paul van den Bergh

For those of you curious about the big two, here are some real cool Kickstarter and Indiegogo statistics to compare the two platforms, and I suggest you check out the open statistics of Kickstarter here and here.

Paul van den Bergh is a designer and building engineer who is researching the connection between the Built Environment, Crowdsourcing, Disruptive Media and Open Source.

Product: Knowledge
Designer: na
Manufacturer: na
Category: review


DutchDesignStarter crowd
DutchDesignStarter crowd
at Pakhuis, picture by DutchDesignStarter

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