2,800 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
Browse through Kickstarter and you’ll find all kinds of projects: games, film, fashion, and technology, to name a few common categories. What you won’t find, however, are Kickstarter campaigns expressly related to medicine, healthcare, or fitness, because the site explicitly prohibits health-related projects.
Mike Pence, the original lead developer on the Kickstarter team, saw the platform’s wellness gap as a golden opportunity. Alongside Alex Fair, founder of FairCareMD and organizer of the NYC Health 2.0 chapter, Pence created Medstartr, a crowdfunding website for healthcare innovation. After a roughly six-month development cycle, the two launched a beta version of the site this Wednesday.
“The internet is really redefining how money flows and how things get paid for, and healthcare seemed like a great segment of the market to leverage that with,” Pence told Crowdsourcing.org during a phone conversation Thursday evening. “It will be really cool to see what new discoveries in medicine, medical devices, and medical technologies will be enabled by the crowd.”
Some early campaigns on the site include an app for diabetics that incentivizes healthy behavior with game-like rewards, a website that promotes STD awareness and treatment, and even MedStartr itself, which hopes to raise at least $7,500 through its own platform. “Any crowdfunding site is only as good as the projects that are on it — and we have great projects,” said Pence.
Presently, MedStartr only offers pledge-based, all-or-nothing crowdfunding for up to $40,000 — complete with tiered reward systems, much like other popular platforms — but when the JOBS Act’s crowdfunding exemption goes into effect, the company plans to integrate an equity model, too. It takes a five percent fee for successful campaigns, while its payment processors (PayPal “and the like”) take about three percent.
Medstartr could be a game-changer for healthcare startups, which get to showcase their wares or services while they raise capital through the platform. Here’s to hoping the crowd of doctors, researchers, and med-tech innovators find enough backers to make crowdfunding health projects worthwhile.