2,526 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
New crowdfunding platforms are springing up like weeds — our database alone lists a whopping 344 crowdfunding platforms, a significant increase from the same time last year. Last night, we shined the spotlight on Fondomat, a newly launched Czech crowdfunding website — the first in the country, in fact.
Today we examine a more established platform: Kapipal, founded by IT consultant and Italian professor Alberto Falossi in 2009. A general crowdfunding platform for creative projects, charitable causes, events — anything, really — Kapipal allows for both public and private crowdfunding. We spoke with Falossi to learn more.
Crowdsourcing.org: So what’s the significance behind 'Kapipal', the name of your site?
Alberto Falossi: The name "Kapipal" is a combination of "Capital" and "Pal". The basic principle behind Kapipal — and crowdfunding in general — is that your friends are your capital. In the social media era, the more relationships and contacts you have, the “richer” you are. Kapipal transforms your friends and your potential capital in real money and social funding. This is what I call “kapipalism”: a joint economic system based on friendship. I theorized the fundamental principles of crowdfunding in the Kapipalist Manifesto.
Kapipal isn’t just another crowdfunding site. We have a mission: make crowdfunding accessible to everyone. Crowdfunding can be applied in many situations and can help millions of people in the world.
What makes Kapipal unique in the crowdfunding sector? Why should I post my project on Kapipal and not a different crowdfunding site?
Falossi: The first difference that people notice is that Kapipal is free. And it’s true, Kapipal doesn’t take any fee. Many personal collections on Kapipal have a target amount that is less than $100 and wouldn’t work with the 5%-10% commission fees of other crowdfunding sites.
Other crowdfunding similar sites target specific audiences, like artists, musicians, and journalists. What if I have a different job? What if I wanted to just raise money for my birthday? Also, some sites work only in the United States. Kapipal does not exclude anyone, anywhere. It’s multi-language and multi-currency.
Why did you decide to allow private project postings? Do you find that many people take advantage of it?
Falossi: Kapipal was the first site to allow “private” or “personal” crowdfunding: the author chooses to not index the fundraising page in search engines, and only those who know the project’s URL can donate. This is done for privacy — for example, in collections for a medical treatment.
Currently, half of the projects on Kapipal are “private”. They usually perform better than public projects, because donors know and trust the author. That's the power of kapipalism: the stronger the friendships or interpersonal relationships, the more users are willing to contribute.
Why did you choose PayPal as your money transfer service? What are the advantages (e.g. secure) and disadvantages (e.g. processing fees) of operating through PayPal?
Falossi: In order to reach the largest audience possible, PayPal is the best (and arguably only) choice. It’s already used by millions of users in the world, it’s functional, and it’s secure. The only disadvantage is of course the processing commission, but it is one of the lowest out there and it’s well accepted by our users.
Generally, what type of projects does Kapipal attract? For example, are there more creative projects or business ventures -- or is it completely diverse?
Falossi: On Kapipal you can see everything: weddings, birthdays, sports, events, medical treatments, financing for bands or concerts, college, theatrical performances, and of course, charities. We don’t support business ventures (with financial returns), and we won’t in the future; kapipalism is focused on personal projects.
What are some of your favorite projects that have acquired funding through the site?
Falossi: It’s surprising to see every day what pushes people around the world to raise money. Sometimes the projects are fun. Other times they’re bizarre. Other times they’re touching.
Periodically, we feature some inspiring stories about our users. Let’s take Katie, who raised money through Kapipal to train with England Juniors Taekwondo. After some months, she became the 2011 British National Champion. Or take Daniela, who raised funds to buy a projector for the Indian orphanage of Hope, in Tamil Nadu, India. Thanks to crowdfunding, the children now have their own cinema. It’s wonderful to know that Kapipal is helping to better the lives of so many people.
Does Kapipal allow project creators to offer rewards like other popular crowdfunding services? If so, are some form of rewards mandatory?
Falossi: Kapipal supports rewards, but it doesn’t force you to create them. Rewards are usually used in public projects (e.g. music band funding). In personal projects (e.g. birthdays), users just want to raise donations.
Since Kapipal is free, how can it be sustained? How do you generate revenue?
Falossi: I'm often asked me question. Well, the answer is quite simple: Kapipal itself is crowdfunded! Obvious, right?
Thanks to Kapipal founder Albert Falossi for speaking with us.