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FundaGeek: Kickstarter for Tech Innovations and Research

FundaGeek

With cash-strapped governments and businesses spending less on R&D in the wake of the economic crisis, innovation may be in jeopardy. Meanwhile, some capital-intensive startups struggle to borrow from friends and family or secure investment from VCs.

This was true for entrepreneur Dan Gutierrez, who was building a cloud-based database service called HostedDatabase.com in 2000. Back then, VCs hadn’t jumped on the “cloud” bandwagon yet. So ten years later, he cofounded FundaGeek to help technology projects get that elusive cash.

Like Kickstarter, FundaGeek crowdsources project funding. Instead of equity, donors get rewards like a free gadget or a ticket to a launch party. Both sites charge a fee – 5% of the total raised for Kickstarter, and 5-9% for FundaGeek (depending on which marketing option you choose).

“There is some crossover between our two platforms,” admits Gutierrez, who launched FundaGeek in November. “But I’d say that if you have a purely technology project in mind, then we’re the better home for it.”

FundaGeek focuses on 7- to 90-day commercial technology or tech research projects, versus the creative projects found on Kickstarter. For example, innovators are currently using FundaGeek to build a marketplace platform for poor Indian craftsmen; to record the sounds of the disappearing Borneo forests; and to make an Angry Birds competitor.

When you submit a project to FundaGeek, it undergoes a “thorough” review to make sure it is creative, unique, and widely appealing. Kickstarter just asks a “few quick questions” and makes sure you aren’t violating their guidelines, but both sites take only a day or two for approvals. Kickstarter is restricted to US citizens, while FundaGeek is open to anyone over 18 – and they’ve seen international interest as a result.

FundaGeek also has more privacy – you can choose to make a project “private,” so users have to sign a non-disclosure agreement to view the full details. Finally, Kickstarter takes an “all or nothing” approach – if the funding goal isn’t reached, no money is collected – whereas FundaGeek is more flexible. Commercial technology projects follow the “all or nothing” model, while research projects get to keep any pledged money, since it may still be useful.

Going forward, FundaGeek will face the challenge of changing the way established research institutions do business. But if universities really are pressed for cash, the promise of no-strings-attached crowdsourced money is an enticing one.

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About the Author

Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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9 Responses to “FundaGeek: Kickstarter for Tech Innovations and Research”

  1. Jon Friedman

    Good stuff Kira!
    We are using Kickstarter right now, We would be interested to share the financials but not sure if the Kickstarter community is interested in it as much. FundaGeek looks cool in that aspect. Our project Freight Farms is currently on Kickstarter and we are at 65% toward our goal with the help of crowd-funding. So nice to have the support of the global community for a project about empowering local communities through agriculture. Crowd-funding is fostering innovation at a time when it is desperately needed.

    Thanks for writing about it! http://kck.st/syZblG

    Reply
  2. John Boblia

    TechMoola.com is new on the scene and does a better job at promoting tech for inventors than fundageek. Fundageek is a pretty lame site and name as far as I am concerned.

    Reply
    • Kira M Newman

      Are you using TechMoola? I'd like to hear about your experience. Feel free to email me at kira@techcocktail [dot] com

      Reply
  3. Noel Panyko

    Fascinating stuff, people. I confess I’m amazed at the news that in-house systems (even at big medical centers, apparently) are often poorly managed. Thinking back to newspaper shops, it’s hard for me to imagine that large medical practices would be less fail-safe; but I hear the comments that say that.

    Reply
  4. Refugio Mclarney

    The growing field of cloud computing could definitely generate major new projects in the future. However, hosting organizations should prove that cloud computing is not just a marketing concept; it is a true technological innovation.

    Reply
  5. Felisa Kahaleua

    Bucket Explorer runs on multiple platform including Linux also. Now it come in new flavor of supports for Amazon Identity and Access Management Service (IAM), Multipart Upload, Distribution on Custom Origin and many more.

    Reply

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