Companies Finance Products Products ... — 29 August 2013
New Boulder company aims to
ease the road to crowdfunding

BOULDER -- We’ve all heard the stories. Someone puts up a cool idea on Kickstarter and, wham! — the next day he’s got millions of dollars committed from an adoring public to launch his product.

While many such tales are surely apocryphal, the sport of crowdfunding has had some undeniable winners. Double Fine, a computer adventure game project, was 100 percent funded in just over 8 hours, the span of a typical workday. The project raised a stratospheric $3.3 million from 87,141 backers through Kickstarter, one of the more popular crowdfunding websites.

Now a group of crowdfunding veterans in Boulder is ready to help others get in the game. Dan Haarburger, Dan Thompson and Greg Lyon — whose most recent project, The Handleband, raised more than 10 times its goal on Kickstarter — have launched Harness the Crowd, a “one-stop shop for those looking to fund an idea through crowdfunding.”

"Harness the Crowd is an online community with a single goal: to make crowdfunders more successful," says Haarburger. "We're aggregating the best resources to help individuals learn about crowdfunding, connecting project creators with groups that can help them succeed, and building a community where people interested in crowd-funding can go for resources and advice."

According to the founders, the newly-minted website includes:

  • Links to dozens of educational resources, each carefully researched and vetted.
  • A list of companies that provide professional services for video, website development, PR and more.
  • Forums in which project creators can get information, share ideas or ask specific questions.

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Haarburger points to other high-profile crowdfunding winners — like Indiegogo's "Let's Give Karen a Vacation," and the Pebble watch project that earned $1 million in support in just 28 hours — as evidence of a booming market that is still in infancy.

“More than $2.7 billion was raised for projects on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter in 2012,” he says. “What most people don't realize is that this number represents only a fraction of all crowdfunding activity.”

He maintains that more than half a billion dollars have been pledged towards 85,000 projects on Kickstarter alone, and crowdfunding is expected to grow to a $5.1 billion industry in 2013.
But he also warns that less than half of all projects succeed. Harness the Crowd, he says, was launched to raise the success rate.

"There's so much information, and so many individuals eager to support upstart entrepreneurs,” says Haarburger. “Harness the Crowd brings the best resources together in one clean, clear, and organized place to make collaboration possible."

To get started, you can find Harness the Crowd at harnessthecrowd.com. You can find also find the three founders ensconced in a self-described “green garage on The Hill” in Boulder. After that, all you need is a kick-butt idea. Easy, right?

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