Months after Lucia, the first Indian crowdfunded movie hit theatres, Bangalore will soon have a platform that will help people who desire to take up projects through crowdfunding achieve their goals.
Fundmydream is a dream come true for Rohith Subramaniam. And he believes in his dream. "Crowdfunding is the way forward. I came up with the idea when I had to do an internship for my three-year integrated BBA-MBA course this June; I could either work with a company or start my own. I decided to opt for the latter. The company was registered in October, but we are to start operations through our website in a week or so," he says.
As someone who has already co-founded an NGO, Unity of Youth - based in Chennai and Bangalore - which hopes to unite youth across the country to take up various causes, the 19-year-old did not bat an eyelid when he decided to start a company that would help people with crowdfunding.
Talking of the scope of crowdfunding, he says, "Did you know the Statue of Liberty was built through crowdfunding? It's big in the US, with about a hundred websites that facilitate it. Obama's election campaign and the launch of a space shuttle in the US were done through crowd funding. Also, I started working towards Fundmydream before Lucia was made, so it was heartening to see that crowdfunding was working for the movie."
Rohith is excited to have 'introduced a new industry to India', and he, along with his two friends Debashis Chakravartti and Sarah Batgeri, who are the other two core members of Fundmydream, believe that no one who is talented, be it in any field, should be brushed aside for lack of funds.
"If a sportsperson is good enough to go for the Olympics but has financial constraints, he or she can approach us," explains the entrepreneur.
Fundmydream is willing to fund projects across various fields from short films, theatre, music and publishing (for young authors) to NGOs, start-ups and events as long as the members are convinced of the project's suitability for crowd funding.
"Even those that we reject, we tell them why we're doing so. Then they can rework on their ideas and approach us again. For those whom we choose to support, we have a dedicated team which helps them reach out to their families, friends and acquaintances, to promote the project online and help with other forms of marketing too," says Rohith.
People will have two models for raising funds: All or Nothing and Keep in Anything. "If they choose All or Nothing, then only if they raise 100 per cent or more of the target, will they get the money. Otherwise, the money will be returned to those who have contributed," he clarifies.
In Keep in Anything, whatever amount has been raised will be passed on to the applicant.
The company keeps seven per cent it, irrespective of the model chosen. While there is no upper limit to the amount that can be raised, the maximum time period that the website allows for is 90 days.
So far, the company is considering about four projects. “The formalities are not over, but so far the ones we are thinking of are an NGO - Hunger-free India, a Tamil short film Pracchi, an online photo-mag Crystal Concept and an online comic Striptease which wants to bring out print editions,” Rohith adds. Of challenges that he, Debashis and Sarah faced, Rohith says, “People still have to understand the concept that crowdfunding and charity are different.” Currently, the company is focusing on people from Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and, of course, Bangalore because ‘at least people here have heard of crowdfunding’.
Also called crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, crowd equity, crowd-sourced fundraising, crowdfinding involves collective effort of individuals who contribute financially to support initiatives bu other people, groups or organisation. Internet and social media are generally crucial to such endeavours as projects are promoted on these platforms.