Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have long been a haven for budding techies and entrepreneurs looking for capital. But Indiegogo has always offered the same opportunity to established companies, as well–even the big brands that can afford to fund their own products. With an announcement made on Wednesday, Indiegogo is giving those companies another push, along with a new opportunity to publicize internal projects that may not see the light of day.
“We’ve always had larger companies reaching out to us over the years,” Jerry Needel, Indiegogo’s SVP of corporate partnerships, told The Verge. “Earlier this year it really popped. It’s a very clear trend that we’re seeing now.”
The Enterprise Crowdfunding program will provide additional assistance to big businesses interested in using Indiegogo’s platform. One form of help Indiegogo is offering are consultations that can help companies determine which projects are most suited to crowdfunding. Indiegogo will also guide companies through the campaign process and offer detailed analytics. The thinking is that employees could turn to Indiegogo to fund, say, research and development projects that may otherwise get overlooked at a large firm. Indiegogo could also serve as a sounding board for proposals that have yet to garner support.
“Indiegogo and crowdfunding provide a unique opportunity for large enterprises to solve a long-time problem, which is, ‘How do we produce products that customers and consumers actually want?'” Gwen Nguyen, senior director of corporate partnerships, told ComputerWorld.
Like non-enterprise Indiegogo campaigns, the new venture would also give consumers who pledge money the chance to snag a product prior to its commercial release.
It’s possible that Indiegogo users may take issue with large companies joining the platform and soaking up funding that could have otherwise go to underdogs. (Kickstarter users voiced similar complaints when actor Zach Braff turned to the site to fund a new movie.) The reaction to Indiegogo’s new program will likely depend on how those firms choose to exploit its reach and resources.
Enterprise Crowdfunding has been in testing for the past year; companies like Google, Hasbro, and General Electric have already used it to host innovation contests that awarded cash prizes and crowdfunding campaigns.