New crowdfunding site iPledg aims to woo start-ups

iPledg, a new funding platform for start-ups, has launched with the claim that it will stand out from an increasingly populated crowdfunding market in Australia.


The business, which launched on New Year’s Day, is aimed at raising funds for the early commercialisation of projects.


Around 30% of its users are expected to be start-up businesses, with the creative and charitable industries also catered for on the site.


The business has been founded by Andy Tompkins, co-founder of Lattice Capital, and Bryan Vadas, co-founder of consultancy firm Time Masters.


iPledg claims it is the only crowdfunding site in the world to offer funding opportunities to all three sectors.


However, the business looks set to face stiff competition in the area of crowdfunding, in which users in need of finance post details of their project in the hope of attracting donations. If their funding target isn’t met, the donors do not have to part with their money.


Last year saw the emergence of several crowdfunding operators, with what had previously been a US-centric concept transplanted to Australia.


New businesses such as Project PowerUp, edgeyo and Pozible are all vying for traction in the emerging crowdfunding market.


iPledg allows budding entrepreneurs to ask for any amount of money, with the “sweet spot” considered to be in the $2,000 to $25,000 range.


The service will be promoted via a series of partners, including government body AusIndustry and funding body The Australian Small Scale Offerings Board.


In return, start-ups will pay a 5.5% success fee on raised funds, as well as a $2.50 listing fee. However, the site is initially not charging the listing fee. iPledg will also feature online advertising.


Vadas tells StartupSmart that he hopes the business will become a market leader in Australia within a year, with expansion to the US and beyond in the pipeline.


“We’ve got a got a broad base under the one roof and we both come from a commercial background, not the tech space like the guys on the other crowdfunding sites,” he says.


“We will be pushing it in the US because you can’t get a presence on (market leader) Kickstarter without a US bank account. We will be using PayPal.”


“The current economic climate is favourable to a concept of this nature where the traditional funding institutions are not funding small business especially at the start-up phase.”


“Despite some scepticism regarding the Australian culture for pledging or donating there was almost universal recognition that this concept could significantly help smaller entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground.”


“iPledg is perfect for those with ‘new to world’ IP, a great business idea, or a commercial concept that just requires start-up funding to kickstart commercialisation.”


“We have had interest from creators of apps for smartphones and tablets right through to inventors and those wanting to list or float their business on either the public or private exchanges.”


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