Crowdfunding Breeds Innovation
Vann Alexandra Daly is a Miami-born, New York-based crowdfunding producer who gives life to art she believes in. Alex was recently named the “crowdsourceress” for her expertise in crowdfunding. Over the course of a year, Alex has raised millions of dollars for clients including Oscar and Emmy-nominated filmmakers and Neil Young. She has served on panels at distinguished film festivals and universities and consults Knight Foundation art grantees. In addition to her crowdfunding successes, Alex is a producer for the feature length documentary Cocaine Prison, which has received support from the Macarthur Foundation, Cannes Film Festival’s Fonds Sud Cinema, Sundance Documentary Fund, Tribeca Latin America Fund, Bertha BritDoc Journalism Award, and more. Her other films have been selected by the world’s most prestigious festivals including Sundance and Tribeca.
One of the reasons I find it so exciting to work in the crowdfunding space is because I get to witness crowdfunding actually shift and shape our economy. I often say that a 30-day campaign is much like a love affair. It’s intimate and exhilarating and I get to watch something grow and, if done right, spread like wildfire. On a larger scale, I feel like I am watching crowdfunding itself grow as a whole.
Crowdfunding as we know it today didn’t exist a decade ago. Who would have thought that you could raise money from people on the Internet? That they would give money to you without knowing you, or physically holding your product, or seeing even one full minute of your film? It sounds far-fetched, but it’s happening over and over again, and at an ever-increasing rate.
Kickstarter as a company has been around for just five years. Since then the site has helped raise $1,090,637,138 (and counting). And that’s only one platform. Crowdfunding triumphs have surprised us, and they continue to. What is more inspiring than watching and being part of creation? The idea that we don’t need to just sit around and wait for something to happen but can take it into our own hands.
This is big, but its not Big Business. In an Occupy age crowdfunding is the answer to corporate conglomeration and reliance on large financial institutions. It fosters economic empowerment in a democratic, aspirational way, leveraging transparency, community, and human connection. At its inception most of the projects finding use through Kickstarter and other early platforms were artisanal, DIY, Mom & Pop. It was a movement with the intention to disrupt and give power to everyone with creative ideas. More recently we’ve seen other projects enter the game. From tech companies to Hollywood players, crowdfunding is attracting everyone. It’s inclusive, malleable, and able to function differently for different projects and allows them big and small to exist together, how an open economy should function.
Crowdfunding breeds innovation and is consistently evolving as an economic tool. What will happen next? As a “crowdfunding expert” I can admit, I don’t really know. And I am OK with that.
Image credit: Chones/Shutterstock
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