How CEO Slava Rubin Is Bringing Indiegogo To The World

How do you scale a crowd? By being "completely open," says Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin.

While crowdfunding has grown crowded, Indiegogo stays singular. Launched in 2008—with cofounder Danae Ringelmann as one of our most influential women in tech—the platform is radically inclusive. And as CEO Slava Rubin tells PBS MediaShift, that involves being pretty radical.

OPENNESS

Indiegogo is often mentioned in the same breathe as Kickstarter, the maximal creative crowdfunder. But while Kickstarter circles around the work of "creatives," Rubin's company is rigorously uncurated.

"For us, it’s a completely open platform, where it’s what the funders want, they get. We don’t decide, we don’t judge and we leave it up to the market," he says. "There’s no application, no human judgment before you launch a campaign, because we believe the market should be open."

GOING GLOBAL

Another differentiator, Rubin says, is Indiegogo's internationalism: while they launched in San Francisco and then shortly in New York back in 2008, they quickly had participation around the world. That opens up a can-do cascade: "If you’re German and you see someone on Germany raise that money," he says, "you’re going to do it next."

BUT KEEPING FOCUS

While indiegogo has been the vehicle for grassroots social good, it and other crowdfunders have become a source for studio-sized projects.

This can all be a part of the indie ethos, Rubin says:

it's all about the independent spirit. 'Indie' is independent spirit, which crashes into 'gogo' which is fun and active. The two come together to create something that is special. So anybody can have the independent spirit, whether it’s a kid trying to raise money for a cow to offer to their community or it’s someone who’s more established like the band Protest a Hero, which is a band that already had three albums. They wanted to get away from their label, and raised more than $300,000 from their fans. But they used the independent spirit to move forward.

The Bottom Line: You can be a totally open platform. And you can be totally direct.

[Image: Flickr user Howard Lake]

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