Solomon Arman Nabatiyan was a research professor at Northwestern University before he started pitching investors. His company, CerviaDx, was planning to create a revolutionary cervical cancer test that would be as easy as a pregnancy test. It seemed like a great investment, Nabatiyan explains: a woman dies of cervical cancer every 2 minutes, yet it’s treatable if caught early.
But the test would take 5 years to bring to market, so investors weren’t interested:
“I decided that enough is enough,” says Nabatiyan. “Let’s take it to the People’s Court and let the crowds be the judge.”
So he cofounded TechMoola, a Chicago-based crowdfunding site for technology and gadgets. In exchange for awards, you can donate to various projects – such as a gadget to display your computer screen on your TV in HD, or a platform to quickly book services like carpet cleaning and pest control, in addition to the cervical cancer test.
TechMoola is similar to FundaGeek: both involve a thorough review process and help advertise projects afterward. TechMoola judges ideas based on “innovation, novelty and technical merit,” and innovators will have to go through an extensive application, phone interviews, and due diligence.
But TechMoola has a few downsides: the fee is larger (10 percent, compared to FundaGeek’s 5-9 percent), project creators must be US citizens, and projects cannot be private.
Both sites are new, so we’ll have to see if they tackle different types of technologies or end up directly competing for the coolest projects. TechMoola is also planning to offer equity-based crowdfunding once the new crowdfunding bill is put into effect.