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Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding Platform Roundup: Reddit Donates and Authors Tour
© Image: Darel Parker / darelparker.com
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Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding Platform Roundup: Reddit Donates and Authors Tour

In our last crowdsourcing and crowdfunding platform roundup, we highlighted iAMscientist, Comics Accelerator, and MIT’s Digital Shingle project, among others. This week, we’ve compiled a few more platforms that piqued our interest.

Reddit Donate

E-payment network Dwolla yesterday announced Reddit Donate, an addition to the social news and discussion platform that allows moderators to embed a ‘donate’ button to charities of their choice within their subreddits (sections of the site, e.g. Politics, Gaming, Atheism, etc.). It also serves as a standalone platform: people unfamiliar with Reddit can also browse and donate a number of verified 501(c)(3) nonprofits on the Reddit Donate site. The Reddit Donate platform never holds onto any money; payment services Dwolla and Stripe facilitate the transaction, transmitting any donations directly into the nonprofit’s bank account.

Reddit Donate is web-based philanthropy at its most basic — as Dwolla says, there are “no gimmicks, no tricks, just buttons” — but since Reddit is one of the most popular sites on the internet, it marks a significant addition to the crowdfunding landscape.

Fquare

Last week, entrepreneur Charles Polanco launched a New York-based crowdfunding site called Fquare. Centered on the American farmer, the site allows the crowd to purchase land from farmers and lease it back to them at a four to six percent interest rate. Fquare users can trade shares, each representing one square foot of land, during the course of the lease. When the lease expires, the land is either returned to the original farmer or a new owner. “It's basically trying to apply what we've seen from Kickstarter and CircleUp and SecondMarket, and bring it into a whole new area," Fquare founder Charles Polanco told Fortune. "Farmland has been a much safer investment than unknown tech startups."

Togather

Based in Brooklyn, Togather hopes to revitalize the book tour scene, which has become less popular in recent years. The site works by crowdfunding (what it calls “fansourcing”) book pre-orders. Once authors see that enough people in a particular region pre-order their book, they can host an event in that area with the expectation of a positive turnout. The platform also enables ticket sales and RSVPs without book purchases. Togather’s success will lie in getting enough authors to join the platform to make it an appealing destination for bibliophiles.

Brickstarter

Currently in beta, Brickstarter is a prototype of a community crowdfunding platform. Based in Finland, the site aims to improve the collaboration between citizens and their local governments. Presently, the site simply highlights other platforms that are crowdsourcing ideas and /or funds to improve users’ communities. The goal, however, is to develop an interactive platform that will allow its users to have a positive effect on their communities — hence the slogan, “Yes in my back yard!” Look for more developments from Brickstarter as the site grows.

StartupValley

A crowdfunding platform for tech companies, StartupValley will allow individuals to invest in tech startups once the SEC hammers out the final crowdfunding rules and regulations. It remains to be seen what kinds of startups the platform will attract — those that genuinely want to be funded by the crowd, or ones that failed to convince traditional investors to back them.

Platform roundup by Eric Blattberg and Anton Root

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