Crowdfunding gets major kick-start

Crowdfunding gets major kick-start
Crowdfunding initiator, Mr Dennis Yeo (in black), visiting Aroonrak Jattanathammajit and her family at KK Women's and Children's Hospital.
PHOTO: The New Paper

Crowdfunding platforms see huge growth in projects launched and money pledged this year

This year, $2.9 million was pledged to projects started by Singaporeans on Kickstarter, nearly 3½ times more than the $854,464 pledged last year.

Crowdfunding platforms have seen huge growth this year.

GiveAsia, a charity-focused crowdfunding platform, also saw a growth of 80 per cent in total donations raised this year.

Mr Sean Leow, Kickstarter's director of international, who helps support its international community, told The New Paper Singapore backers of its projects had grown by 25 per cent.

Kickstarter was officially launched here in August.

Mr Leow said: "We've been officially open for creators here for less than four months, but we've been blown away by the number of brave creators who are using Kickstarter to bring their ideas to life."

Singaporeans launched 145 projects on Kickstarter this year, compared to 34 last year.

The projects cover a range of creative categories from art to technology, but Kickstarter does not allow any projects to raise money for charity.

GiveAsia co-founder Aseem Kumar Thakur attributes its boom to Singaporeans becoming more aware and accepting of crowdfunding from when it was founded in 2009.

More than 250 local charities use it as a source to collect donations online, he said.

With the recent launch of GiveAsia's mobile platform, most of its traffic now comes from mobile.

Singaporeans who started successful crowdfunding campaigns say they are grateful for these platforms.

Ms Lim Li Xue, an industrial design student at the National University of Singapore, and two friends raised more than $280,000 on Kickstarter for their wallet design, which automatically sorts coins from notes.

The 23-year-old said: "We think Kickstarter is a good platform for innovators."

The scene here is set to further flourish as more crowdfunding platforms make their presence felt.

Israeli platform OurCrowd, which was launched in 2013 and opened an office here last month, told TNP it saw a 200 per cent growth both in the number of investors and amount in the investments from Singapore.

OurCrowd, which also has offices in Israel, North America and Australia, said Singapore provided about 6 per cent of its total investment dollars.

Home-grown company CoA­ssets said it smashed local records when it raised $200,000 under 30 minutes for a small Singapore business in March.

Next year looks set to be even bigger for crowdfunding.

Mr Thakur told TNP: "We will see a rise in crowdfunding projects to help people in need.

"We believe more charities will rely on online fund-raising platforms to raise funds and awareness, compared to offline third-party fund raising (that is not cost effective)."

Mr Denes Ban, OurCrowd's managing partner for Asia, predicts more deals will come from Asia, one of its fastest growing markets.

He told TNP: "The financial technology environment in Asia is changing, with more regulators open to collaboration."

Viral crowdfunding campaigns

BABY YUJIA

Baby Yujia cannot use her mouth to eat because part of her oesophagus is missing.

Last June, her parents turned to crowdfunding sites to raise $2 million for her treatment. By February, they had raised about $1.2 million.

MAID WHO HAD STROKE

Madam Dora Sern turned to GiveAsia after her Filipino maid, Madam Felicidad Muna Mico, 57, had a stroke in October. She raised$50,039 to cover Madam Mico's hospital bills and her flight to the Philippines.

THAI STUDENT HIT BY CAR

Aroonrak Jattanathammajit, 16, fell into a coma after a car hit her in September.

After The New Paper broke the story, Singaporean Dennis Yeo turned to GiveAsia and raised $132,000.

She later woke up and returned to Thailand for further treatment.

EDWIN CHEN

Mr Edwin Chen, 25, was worried about the $50,000 treatment after he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia on July 11.

A friend, Mr Ray Goh, turned to GiveAsia. $21,000 was raised in 24 hours.

By yesterday, it had gone up to $45,000.

WALLET INVENTION

on SPH Brightcove

Their goal was $4,000 on Kickstarter. But within a day, the three National University of Singapore students raised $30,000 for Kin, a wallet they designed that automatically separates coins and notes.

So far, more than 4,700 people have pledged a total of $280,468.

leeganjp@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Dec 28, 2016.
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