NZ crowd funding site goes global

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Surf film project 'Under the Weather' which has so far raised over $7000 in funding towards its $14000 goal on crowd funding site Social Backing. Photo / Supplied
Surf film project 'Under the Weather' which has so far raised over $7000 in funding towards its $14000 goal on crowd funding site Social Backing. Photo / Supplied

The designers of a new crowd-funding website say theirs is the first to allow New Zealanders to share their ideas with a global audience.

Created in Auckland, www.socialbacking.com went live last month to help start-ups gain the funding required to get off the ground.

Crowd funding is a modern alternative to traditional funding avenues such as bank loans, and enables people to raise money through donations from a large number of people.

Site designer Ash Lomberg said Social Backing was different to other Kiwi crowd funding sites because it was a global funding platform that allowed New Zealanders to share projects with people around the world.

"We are the first Kiwi site to go global. Having access to a global funding community will help share Kiwi ideas with the world," he said. "We're thinking, if we can get some of these Kiwi projects out there, hopefully we can be more successful."

Lomberg said the site was the only global crowd funding platform created in New Zealand that offered projects to be funded in NZ dollars rather than US dollars.

"We think it should be shared with the world, and not restricted to people with a US registered credit card or social security number."

He said all project backing functions would be integrated with social networks like Facebook to help generate greater interest.

One problem the designers have noticed is that any level of support for crowd funded projects tended to end after the funding goal was achieved, Lombard said.

"We want to create a support network around the businesses once they're funded. We believe our job does not stop after the project is funded."

He said they were working on establishing strategic partnerships with other organisations which could help start-ups in areas like marketing and manufacturing.

Another aim was for backers and creators to have a more interactive relationship, including the ability to create and host events for the backers to gain knowledge and spread the word.

The most popular project on the site so far was a Kiwi surf film called 'Under the Weather', which had received over $7312 in funding towards its $14000 goal.

The project had 129 backers today, including a host of top New Zealand surfers.

Crowd funding had become an increasingly popular method of raising capital, with US-based Kickstarter helping projects gain as much as US$10 million.

Film director Taika Waititi used Kickstarter this year to raise the US$100,000 needed to get his movie Boy distributed in the States.

Social Backing's rules stipulated that if a project did not reach its funding goal of 100 per cent, all the funds were returned to the initial backers.

The site took 5 per cent of the total funded amount for all projects, except for those deemed a charitable cause.

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