To ‘Crowdfund,’ Fundageek Targets Tech Angels

As expanding universe of Internet operations help individuals or small firms raise money, this one has use for IT-minded companies.

“Crowdfunding” is, at its heart, a technical process; after all, these individuals or small firms are using the Internet to try to raise money. But many in the current, expanding universe of crowdfunding sites have focused on creative or nonprofit ventures. Examples include Fundly.com, indiegogo.com, and kickstarter.com.

That’s not the case with Fundageek.com. As you might guess from its name, Fundageek is geared to technology ventures, scientific research, inventions and education -- and potential angels.

Case in point: One of the projects currently featured on the site is Crank-a-Watt, a human powered generator that combines a hand crank and bike attachment in order to produce electricity; the device is designed for use in bringing electricity to poor areas of the world. Its inventor is seeking $5,500; after one day on the site, he had captured $5. (Fortunately, he had 89 days left to reach his goal.) Another inventor – actually, a student at Miami University in Ohio – is looking for backers for her expedition to Borneo, Malaysia, to study clouded leopards and collect information on conservation efforts underway. The project’s 28 backers have pledged $1,600 of the student’s $3,500 goal.

To be sure, raising funds via Fundageek differs from more traditional ways of securing capital. For starters, many of the inventors and researchers are looking for relatively small amounts of money – typically, four or five figures. And, the backers simply are making contributions, presumably to support projects they believe in. While they can get a reward – say, their name on the project’s website – according to Fundageek’s FAQ, projects can’t use the site to obtain equity investments or to borrow.

Additionally, the fundraising is all or nothing. If a project fails to reach its fundraising goal, it doesn’t obtain funding status and no money changes hands. Taking this approach allows inventors to test ideas with little risk, according to Fundageek. Also, inventors aren’t forced to move ahead with a project that attracted just a fraction of the money it really needs to get off the ground.

For its part, Fundageek typically receives either five or nine percent of pledged dollars that are collected. The higher the rate, the more marketing support that’s made available.

Earlier this month, Fundageek announced an exclusive partnership with United Inventors Association of America, “to help inventors find funding for their projects and to fund the commercialization of their products.”