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UFOstart: The Crowdfunding Platform that Lives on Facebook

UFOstart: The Crowdfunding Platform that Lives on Facebook

As we often stress, social media is a key component of crowdfunding — but for UFOstart, social media and crowdfunding are literally inseparable. Currently in beta, UFOstart is an equity-based crowdfunding platform that operates as a Facebook application. It has an outside website, but that simply directs visitors to connect to the Facebook app.

Briefly, here’s how the platform works:

  • Entrepreneurs pitch ideas and state needs to operate for three months.
  • Experts and investors evaluate ideas and bid tasks or funds for equity.
  • If an idea gets funded in three weeks, the deal closes. If not, all parties pull back.

Integrating experts as well as investors, UFOstart’s “work for equity” option has the potential to significantly reduce startups’ funding needs. Moreover, UFOstart partners in each venture with funds and legal frameworks to help businesses get off the ground.

The site’s three founders — Thomas Hessler, CEO; Heiko Rauch, CFO/COO; and Jens Hewald, CTO — previously started Zanox, an affiliate marketing platform that they sold to Europe’s largest PR and marketing firm for $300 million in 2007. The self-described “crazy Germans” have grand aspirations for UFOstart: they aim to close 10,000 startup deals worth a total of $500 million within the next three years.

The first company to raise funds with UFOstart is Capseo, a web-marketing company that uses crowdsourcing tactics. With 23 days remaining, Capseo has raised about 40% of its funding round. spoke with Capseo Co-founder and CEO Anji Ismail at CrowdConf2011 to learn more about the company. Check out that video interview below.

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