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Amidst a burgeoning market of more than 1,000 crowdfunding platforms where people, charities and businesses can run campaigns to raise money from individuals worldwide, Vancouver-based FundRazr stands out.
The winner of BCIC New Ventures BC’s 2011 social venture prize, FundRazr was selected last year as the preferred fundraising platform for a new FOX-affiliate TV series, The Crowd Funder show, produced by Merton Park Film Studios of Toronto.
Merton’s executive producer, Jordan Whelan, said they chose FundRazr for its security features and advanced social media technology.
“After careful review, FundRazr was the first proven crowdfunding platform that met our requirements for ease of use, flexible campaign lengths, strong customer service and tight social media integration,” he says.
“None of the other platforms can do what we do yet,” says Daryl Hatton, FundRazr’s founder and CEO. “So far, that makes us the exclusive fundraising platform to the show.”
In 2013, Fundrazr was voted “most promising start-up of the year” by the BC Technology Industry Association.
Since winning the BCIC-NV competition, Fundrazr has doubled its employees, from eight to 16, and plans to hire an additional eight to 10 by the end of 2014.
The company was initially funded in 2009 with $525,000 from friends and family, and has since raised an additional $150,000.
Ironically, considering that the company’s primary product is a fundraising platform, Hatton says he found it very difficult to attract funding.
‘“We finished the BCIC-NV competition and everyone thought we were darlings, but wouldn’t give us money,” he says. “So I stopped trying to get investment, put our noses down and just made the business work.”
Fundrazr has since run about 40,000 fundraising campaigns in 20 countries, raising more than $39 million for its users.
Fundrazr gets a five percent commission on all monies raised, and Hatton says the company turned profitable in 2013.
“You usually overestimate what you can accomplish in one year, and underestimate what can be done in 10 years,” he says. “I really feel like the 10-year plan is going to be pretty amazing.”
FundRazr now plans to capitalize on a sponsorship program introduced in the Crowd Funder TV show, which rewards donors with sponsored gift cards for the same amount of money they donate, up to $100.
Hatton has plans to institutionalize this sponsorship model and introduce corporate sponsors for all of the fundraising campaigns.
It’s a win/win situation, he says, with sponsors reaping corporate social-responsibility branding and customer acquisition, and contributors receiving added value for their donations.
Says Hatton, “We think we’re disrupting advertising—for good.”