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Crowdfunding platforms in Germany
The largest, and therefore also the most important, crowdfunding platforms in German-speaking countries are Kickstarter from the USA, Startnext from Berlin and Visionbakery from Leipzig. While primarily artistic and social projects are represented at Visionbakery and Kickstarter, Startnext finds its niche in the regional context of its projects. Ultimately, however, projects of all kinds are welcome on the platforms, as long as they create something that can be shared with others.
In addition to the three big ones, there are a number of smaller crowdfunding platforms that specialize in certain niches: from certain topics such as wine, sports or science to various aspects such as non-profit, personal or locally relevant - most ideas now have their own own market place. Some of these smaller pages are subdivided into larger crowdfunding platforms.
Startnext wants to give founders and inventors the opportunity to realize their ideas. The Berliners are now the largest crowdfunding platform in German-speaking countries and are therefore one of the first points of contact for crowdfunding projects. On this platform, especially projects with a strong regional focus can hope for success, because at Startnext crowd investors often look specifically for campaigns from their city or region.
Usually supporters can choose a small thank you for their contribution, but they can also support a project with a free amount. The promised amounts are noted on the credit cards of the supporters and only withdrawn when the financing goal is achieved, otherwise no money flows - this is called the all-or-nothing principle. Incidentally, Startnext also finances itself according to the crowdfunding principle. The project initiators decide for themselves with what percentage of their collected sum they want to support the platform.
Like Startnext, Visionbakery is a crowdfunding platform “Made in Germany” and has its roots in Leipzig, Saxony. Those who choose this platform can often be found in an artistic or social context. However, it must also be emphasized that Visionbakery is not subject to any explicit specialization and that basically all projects are welcome here.
Here, too, each project has a fixed funding period (maximum 55 days). If the financing goal is not achieved, all supporters get their money back. If a campaign is successful, 10% of the targeted project amount and 1.9% transaction costs go to VisionBakery.
Kickstarter, a platform from the USA, is about making the financing of creative projects possible. The project initiators should remain completely independent and retain full control over their project. The platform is open to all projects and enables the crowd to invest on an extremely small scale. It's just important that the projects create something that can be shared with others.
If the funding goal is not reached by the end of the financing period, no money will be paid out - so Kickstarter also works on the all-or-nothing principle. Like Startnext and Visionbakery, the platform is a classic example of reward-based crowdfunding.
Wemakeit is aimed at people who want to implement or support innovative and creative projects. This can be the development of an app, the publication of a cookbook or the founding of a startup. The platform was founded in 2012 by communications consultant Rea Eggli, the artist Johannes Gees and the interaction designer Jürg Lehni in Switzerland and is now one of the largest crowdfunding platforms in Europe.
Project initiators have access to a community of 150,000 newsletter subscribers, receive advice from the wemakeit team and can be sure that the funds that have been promised will actually arrive, because wemakeit will immediately debit the amounts from the donors.
If a project reaches or exceeds the financing target, the amounts minus 10% service and transaction fee are paid out. If, on the other hand, the funding goal is not achieved, the money raised goes back to the supporters.
99 Funken is an initiative of regional savings banks. Her aim is to strengthen the regional economy, cultural diversity and social coexistence, which is why private individuals, associations and institutions can present regionally relevant projects for crowd financing on this crowdfunding platform. A project that is to be advertised on 99 Sparks must therefore be classified in one of the following categories: urban / regional development, events, art & culture, education, science, animal / environmental protection, sport, agriculture, social affairs.
The minimum target amount is 500 euros, since March 2020 temporarily 250 euros. This crowdfunding platform also works on the all-or-nothing principle, so if the funding goal is not achieved, the supporters get their money back.
Steady is a platform aimed at the creators of creative projects such as podcasts, videos or open source code. Anyone who already has a small community that is ready to support their favorite content creator can design their own subscription model for their supporters on Steady - with freely selectable prices and terms, a paywall for certain content, etc. In the next In the second step, the steady project is built into your own website (the platform gives detailed instructions for this), but you can also link to it on your social media channels.
Steady also offers some other useful tools, such as monthly billing, personal support and access to real-time statistics and member data of your subscribers.
EcoCrowd is the crowdfunding platform for sustainable projects. It was launched by the German Environmental Foundation and is aimed at people who want to do something for our environment - be it as a project initiator with their own sustainable idea or as part of the crowd, with financial means.
The projects on EcoCrowd are based on the flexible funding model - if the financing target is not achieved by the end of the financing phase, the project initiator will still receive their money and each supporter will receive their exchange goods.
For example, the Summtgarter beekeeper from Stuttgart was able to afford new cargo bikes and a wind power art installation was realized in Schöppingen, which even won the highly endowed Allianz environmental award.
Spieleschmiede is a division of Spiele-Offensive.de and was created by fans for fans in order to be able to use crowdfunding to produce games that publishers do not want to produce because they are classified as uneconomical.
Supporters can expect a free copy of the game and bonus material. If the funding goal is not achieved, the money goes back to the supporters.
Fairplaid supports sports clubs, teams and individual athletes in living out their passion. The sports crowdfunding platform wants to ensure that athletes can pursue their goals without being held up by financial hurdles.
On fairplaid, money can therefore be collected for a wide variety of projects with its own project page, from new equipment to participation in competitions to the new sports field. Supporters can donate within a specified period and choose a reward for it. The financing model is based on the “all or nothing” principle, so if the desired amount does not come together in the given period, the supporters get their money back. The project initiators do not incur any costs.
I care for you
I care for you is the first Swiss crowdfunding platform for purely social and humanitarian projects. Aid organizations, non-profit organizations and committed private individuals can present their project on the platform and thus collect contributions from donors. The I care for you team also offers all project initiators individual support.
With the I care for you financing model, supporters secure the amount they are willing to donate by credit card. The money collected is only paid out to the project initiators if the financing goal is achieved within the specified time. If this does not happen, the donors' promised amounts will not be collected.
GofundMe is a platform on which individuals, companies and organizations can collect donations for personal purposes. It can be about financing a stay abroad, paying for an operation for the pet or collecting money for further training. Campaigns for friends, family or even strangers can also be started.
There is no time limit for campaigns on GofundMe; collectors can leave their fundraising campaign online for as long as they want - even after reaching the donation target. If the donation goal is not achieved, they keep the amount they have collected. Even after reaching the donation goal, you can continue to collect.
What all crowdfunding platforms have in common is the claim to not support a project in anticipation of a financial return, but because you want to see an idea realized or promote a good cause. There are often small rewards for the supporters, for example bonus material for a game, first access rights to the product, discounts on certain services, etc.
The platforms are also extremely similar when it comes to the financing model: Usually the “all or nothing” principle is used, which means that money only flows if the financing goal of a campaign has been achieved within the specified timeframe. Only EcoCrowd and GoFundMe rely on flexible financing and pay out the money, regardless of whether the financing goal has been achieved or not, and Steady does it completely differently with its subscription model.
Ultimately, we can only recommend making use of the variety of platforms, comparing them and finding the right one for your own project. Each platform has its own advantages. On the small, specialized platforms you can present your idea in a targeted manner to people who are also interested in it, with the large platforms you benefit from their reach and network, and with other platforms the regional connection helps you to get people excited about your project.
Get help planning your own crowdfunding campaign
The Crowdfunding Campus has supported more than 1,500 crowdfunding projects since 2010 and advises on all crowdfunding areas.
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