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Raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.

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Crowdfunding is a financing method that involves funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. It allows entrepreneurs to raise funds without giving up control to venture capital investors and enables them to gain validation from the public before the product is produced. Crowdfunding has various forms, such as reward-based, equity-based, donation-based, and debt-based crowdfunding.

Context of Use:

Crowdfunding is often discussed in the contexts of entrepreneurship, finance, and social innovation. It provides an alternative to traditional forms of financing such as bank loans, personal savings, or venture capital, making it particularly attractive for startups, small businesses, and individuals looking to fund innovative projects without giving up equity or incurring debt.


The purpose of crowdfunding is to allow people to raise money for their projects or ventures by collecting small amounts of money from a large number of people, usually via the internet. It democratizes the funding process, making it accessible to those who may not have the resources or connections to tap into traditional funding streams.


  1. Kickstarter: Primarily focused on creative projects like art, music, and design, Kickstarter is one of the most popular reward-based crowdfunding platforms. It operates on an all-or-nothing funding model where projects must reach their funding goals to receive any money.

  2. Indiegogo: Similar to Kickstarter, but with more flexible funding options, including fixed (all-or-nothing) and flexible (keep-what-you-raise) models. Indiegogo is used for a wide range of purposes, from inventive products to personal health care needs.

  3. GoFundMe: Best known for personal and charitable crowdfunding campaigns. GoFundMe allows people to raise funds for personal crises, medical expenses, educational pursuits, or community projects without a deadline or funding goal.

  4. Patreon: Unique in providing a platform for creators and artists to receive funding directly from their fans or patrons on a recurring basis or per work of art. It is particularly popular with YouTubers, podcasters, and musicians.

  5. SeedInvest: A platform that provides equity crowdfunding, allowing investors to purchase a stake in a startup or small business. SeedInvest is geared towards more sophisticated investors and requires businesses to go through a vetting process before they can raise funds.

Related Terms:

  • Equity Crowdfunding: A type of crowdfunding that involves the exchange of small amounts of equity to raise capital. The backers receive shares of the company in return for the money pledged.

  • Reward-based Crowdfunding: A crowdfunding campaign where backers contribute to a project in exchange for a tangible reward or product.

  • Debt Crowdfunding: Also known as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, where individuals lend money to others in exchange for a return on investment in the form of interest payments.


How does crowdfunding work?

A: Crowdfunding works by presenting a project or business idea on a platform to attract small contributions from a large number of people. Each platform has specific rules about how money can be raised and what happens to the funds if the project goal is not met.

What are the benefits of crowdfunding?

A: Benefits include access to a broad network of potential funders, validation and feedback on the project from the public, marketing and media exposure, and the ability to test the market viability of a product.

What are the risks of crowdfunding?

A: Risks include not reaching the funding goal, depending on the platform's policy; intellectual property theft; managing backer expectations; and the obligation to fulfill rewards.

Is crowdfunding legal?

A: Crowdfunding is legal but regulated differently by each country. Platforms must comply with local financial regulations, particularly concerning equity crowdfunding, which involves offering a stake in a company.

Can crowdfunding replace traditional funding?

A: While crowdfunding is a valuable tool for raising funds, it is generally not seen as a complete replacement for traditional funding, especially for larger projects or companies that require substantial capital. It is often used in conjunction with other forms of financing.

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