Klaus-Martin Meyer: Liz you are working as Head of International at Indiegogo.Would you please introduce yourself and your company to the German crowdfunding community?
Liz Wald: Indiegogo is the world’s largest crowdfunding platform, empowering people around the world to fund what matters to them, without an application process, meaning anyone can put a campaign idea up. We launched in 2008, even before the word ‘crowdfunding’ even existed, introducing the concept of perks in exchange for contributions. A perk can be anything from a thanks of Facebook to a t-shirt to a cool hardware gadget or even a first-hand experience with a celebrity.
Indiegogo has been empowering people anywhere to fund what matters to them, meaning that being global has been a top priority since day one. Beginning with focused initiatives in the UK, Germany, Canada, France and now Australia, including new currencies, languages and payment processors, we have invested in a strong international foundation and will continue working hard to improve the Indiegogo experience for people worldwide over the coming months and years.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: Have you got a theory for the big success of the US crowdfunding plattforms relative to their counterparts in Europe? This is especially interesting for me because of the less successful pioneer Sellaband who started here in Germany.
Liz Wald: Some of this is due to the sheer size of the US and to the relative homogeny of language, payments and cultures—unlike the challenges that the European community faces with the dozens of countries and languages. Another factor is likely a culture of entrepreneurship and the fact that less support for things like the arts comes from the government. As those things change around the world, we will see crowdfunding playing a role in filling the void.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: Gigaom.com wrote that Indiegogo’s data shows that „German stereotypes are wrong„. What is going on in Germany?
Liz Wald: Well, I’m not sure what stereotypes you are talking about but if one German stereotype is that Germans make great products then we’ve just proven that one with the amazing success of Panono, the panoramic “ball camera” which raised $1.25M on indiegogo, setting a new record for the biggest contribution-based crowdfunding campaign ever in Germany. [Note: contribution means that no equity was exchanged but rather the contributors received perks, such as the camera ball itself which will be delivered in the future.]
An exciting part of crowdfunding is that people have different reasons for why they want to fund projects. At Indiegogo, we’ve discovered that people tend to contribute for any of four reasons: passion, participation, pride and perks. The bottom line is that people love to be directly involved in what they’re passionate about, whether that means supporting an NGO, a film or the latest tech gadget. Whether the US, Germany or any other country around the world, this passion is universal.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: You started with foreign currencies and with local versions almost a year ago. What are the results of the targeted international markets?
Liz Wald: We’ve seen a massive increase in funds raised by campaigns outside the U.S. over the last year and today, about 30% of all Indiegogo campaigns are launched from outside the U.S.
Klaus-Martin Meyer: Will you open local offices as well?
Liz Wald: Indiegogo has campaigners and contributors from nearly 190 countries and we’re always looking at how we can expand further into all parts of the world. We’re constantly working on improving our payments, personalization and optimization systems country by country to continue improving the Indiegogo experiences of users worldwide.