Saturday, May 28, 2011

When the friend is a treasure the network makes your projects

Once upon a time who had a great idea, the dream of a life, a project that also would have bet mom, but no means available to achieve it. Today there are the Internet and social networking. And a thing called crowdfunding or financing from below ground, which focuses on the enormous potential of friends and contacts in the network and uses the Internet as a reservoir for the collection of funds.

Amateur Idea? Not really: crowdfunding with the Louvre has bought a painting by Cranach, The Three Graces: a force of individual contributions, from a minimum of one euro in donations well beyond the Paris museum has managed to put together a million in one month €, the figure was missing in order to add to his collection the precious cloth.

Tous mécènes, all patrons: this is the name of the campaign that has achieved critical mass thanks to the objective of the network and that distills the essence of the phenomenon. With microdon, then, Barack Obama, very careful to Web 2.0, on the Internet has raised $ 500 million for his campaign, a case that has made school.

The idea of crowdfunding is simple: the union is strength and the medium is the network. We propose a project and who is interested can maintain it wherever he is, making a contribution. Donation after donation, click after click, you can help to develop the budget required to give life to the idea.

If you arrive in the time it set itself, is raking in the money and away we go. The big abroad. Kickstarter, "the biggest platform to promote creative projects in the world" as it appears, from New York, was the pioneer, betting that a good idea, if presented properly, travels fast. And a large group of people can become an amazing wealth of funds and encouragement.

On Kickstarter, for example, has seen the light of the Diaspora, social network open source, which makes the defense of the privacy of their flag. A sort of anti-Facebook platform that has raised 200 thousand dollars, well over 10 thousand for the requested departure. Outside the channel is well tested and yielded results in different figures, especially in the artistic and creative.

Colossi Indiegogo or as a showcase of French Ulele, involving the web community, were able to submit thousands of projects, bizarre or not: the idea of restoring the Internet connection in Misurata, Libya, to launch the first CD 's Newcomer Melissa Simonson. Other sites are more specific on: Spot us - which also has an Italian equivalent - for example, is a start-up that matches freelancers and readers, who may decide to finance specific investigations or reports, then getting updates on the progress of the project .

O emphase. is, for crowdfunding applied to photojournalism, and Sellaband seeks funding exclusively to promote the music. Crowdfunding also proved valuable in the social and emergency management: just think of Causes, a Facebook application that allows you to make money to various campaigns - and one of the last was that the earthquake in Japan - which, by 2004, 300 thousand funded projects, collecting $ 16 million.

The Italian scene. And in Italy? Something is happening but the idea hard to take off, a little 'for suspicion, a little' for the difficulty in understanding exactly what it is. One of the first sites was YouCapital - linked to the non-profit Pulitzer - designed for journalists or freelance bloggers who have an investigation to be carried out and seek funding, which now has over 21 thousand subscribers.

Eppela, crowdfunding platform Made in Italy, is the latest arrival was born a few weeks to fund projects and ideas from below, as the rib of the communication anteprimaADV. It is addressed to European talent, amateur or professional, individuals or institutions, giving them a window where you can present your ideas, divided into categories: Public and non-profit art and entertainment, technology and Life.

"It 's a project open and independent", is at pains to explain Nicola Lencioni, CEO, "where everyone can participate." The important thing is that the idea is good. "Eppela is designed as a space of 360 degrees, where you can get information and interact on different levels, with a view to purchase, not charity." Meaning? We give, for example, two euro for a project in music but in return you have something unique, which can range from a meeting with the artist who chooses to support, the autographed CD that has helped to achieve.

Giver receives that is a plus Custom. "There are many projects that could be pride, but they may never see the light if you do not have the opportunities or the hooks right. Why prefer the traditional avenues of funding to invest in safe and not take risks. Eppela wants to give them a chance, "Lencioni says," whether it be individuals or institutions, "exploiting the potential of the network and its ability to aggregate.

How it works. The format below is to Eppela Kickstarter: after passing a screening of quality and specifications of ethics, the project can be presented on the platform. It sets a minimum budget to be achieved within a strict deadline and a set of "rewards" of growing importance, depending on the amount donated.

It then attempts to advertise as much as possible the idea among friends and contacts. If your budget is reached, the fundraiser can continue, without limit, until the deadline. On that date, the author will be paid the full amount realized and 5 percent will Eppela. If your budget is reached, the project is closed and no one loses or gains nothing.

A channel now been run abroad. In Italy, however, we still face the injury and related to online security. "We are still behind the other," says Lencioni, yet 7 out of 10 people have an internet connection and we are the second in Europe for use of social network. "The first draft is Eppela Eppela same: € 12 thousand fixed budget, a deadline 30 days.

"It 's a pure provocation, to question," says Lencioni. A week before the deadline, it remains to cover about one third of the budget. Key words: transparency. The secret of success is all about transparency, Creative Swarm, open source platform created by a team of Italians to bring together creative projects with potential supporters.

"We try to differentiate ourselves in different ways," says Sebastian Amato, engineering, information technology and co-founder and president of Creative Swarm, now being redefinition. "We want to be completely crystalline," he explains, "and for this we created as a non-profit association.

It seems important to protect the ideas put online, certifying the date of release, to shelter for the perpetrators of any plagiarism, which unfortunately sometimes happens, "he says. Creative Swarm, swarm creativity, projects are evaluated according to the liking of the public, the value of the idea and also the ethical basis of a rating on the information that the author gives of himself.

For the time of collection of funds "is not a fixed slot," said Amato, but according to the rating of the project and the amount you want to achieve, you decide on a deadline. It is said that the contribution must be strictly financial, "the platform may also support a project in another way, as a freelancer who decides to help a start-up making themselves available for free as a consultant or company that decides to give a physical space for a project at birth, "explains Amato, who expects to be fully operational with the platform next year.

Friends and contacts? A capital city. "With a little help from my friend," sang Joe Cocker. And friends are generally sympathetic to lend a hand even your wallet, but you must trust. Understand exactly where their contribution is, to be informed of the progress, get involved. It is believed Alberto Falossi, consultant and professor at the University of Pisa, where he teaches how to leverage information technology in business and in business.

And 'he the mastermind behind Kapipal, Italian website crowdfunding - even if everything in English - started in 2009, where the mantra is "Your friends are your treasure." They are the ones that make you realize your dreams, says the poster on the site. That continues, your capital depends on the number of friends, and trust and ultimately grows to strength of word of mouth.

That confidence is key, says Falossi, recalling that at least half of the projects looking for is not crowdfunding contributions, both as the giant Kapipal Kickstarter, because people do not give to strangers, or because the communication did not work. Kapipal - a pun on capital and pal, friend - unlike the other aims above all on independent projects.

A mouse clicks you can donate through Paypal, for the cause that is more worthy, engaging, original, or simply funny. You can choose, for example, to support Katie Bradley, a 14 year old English girl with a lot of pleading blue eyes, who wants to go to the junior world championships in taekwondo in Britain, but he needs to pull 250 pounds.

Helping a school in Peru that have to buy a board or give a hand to Ayana to buy the perfect birthday present for your Curtis, something really special but a bit 'out of budget for you. "So far we have collected about 280 thousand dollars, but the bulk of traffic comes from outside, especially from America," says Falossi.

"In Italy the figure is still modest, even if something is changing." Assume a cultural problem of mistrust of credit cards and online payments. "But if you can involve your friends and family, then it's definitely better.'s Why I prefer the small projects, from the wedding list to the phone again," he says.

Kapipal's dad believes in this form of patronage and modern digital bet that sooner or later we will also grow. "The potential is enormous," he says, "is the power of the crowd." It will not be the solution to all problems, even in times of crisis, but "if you've already invested in your little among your friends, you return something, even in economic terms," he concludes.

It 's the capipalismo, stupid.

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