Liz Gannes

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“WordPress for Crowdfunding,” Crowdhoster Makes Payments a Form of Communication

“Crowdfunding is too powerful to be for gadgets and celebrities raising money for passion projects,” said James Beshara, CEO of the social crowdfunding company Crowdtilt.

JamesBesharaCrowdtilt’s next product, officially launching today, is a set of tools called Crowdhoster that helps people raise money on their own, rather than using a platform like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

Crowdhoster is open source and available internationally, and it only costs 2.9 percent of transactions, versus about double or more than that elsewhere, and has limited international availability. Once crowdfunding campaigns are done, they can be turned into simple stores (rather than just staying up and confusing people who arrive late, as they do on Kickstarter). The downside is that, in some countries, it takes a week or two to make payments after campaigns are complete.

In testing, Crowdhoster has already been used by a number of campaigns, including Soylent, the weird meal replacement created by techies that raised more than $1 million.

But don’t established crowdfunding portals serve a purpose of getting distribution for unknown campaigns and lending their known brands? Beshara is dismissive.

“The world is too connected. Social media is the plumbing that drives these campaigns,” he said.

Beshara called Crowdhoster “the WordPress of crowdfunding,” and argued that crowdfunding is as massive and diverse a concept as blogging. It can be used for political fundraising, real estate, investing, government funding allocation and charity — as well as gadgets and indie games and films, as are popular already.

Still skeptical that this trendy notion of crowdfunding will stick around for the long term? “Money isn’t some hip thing that will fall into the background,” Beshara insisted. “Crowdfunding has the potential to make payments a form of communication. And communication should not be limited, it should be radically inclusive.”

All that passionate ranting has apparently already paid off for Beshara, in the form of financial backing. Crowdtilt got a $12 million Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz earlier this year.


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