Follow and Fund: Crowdfunding for Higher Education

September 6, 2012

9:00 am

Pursing higher education is one of the quintessential goals of the American Dream, but for many students, skyrocketing education costs have acted as a major barrier to entry. To make higher education more affordable for anyone, Follow and Fund was created to help students leverage crowdfunding to meet their educational goals.

First developed as part of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce’s b|launched startup competition program, Follow and Fund is essentially a social network built around helping students raise money for education. The website allows students to build a personal profile and engage a personal network of supporters, mentors, and professional contacts.

Students can use status updates to highlight academic accomplishments and communicate funding needs to their network. Family and friends can then use the website to track a student’s progress and contribute funds to the student using PayPal. Because Follow and Fund is modeled after a social network, it encourages students to be personally accountable and communicate their achievements to their network.

Follow and Fund also helps students galvanize their supporters to raise funds, with features like social media plugins that allow students to share their story with their network on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. As Follow and Fund continues to grow, it will implement other features to better serve its users.

Follow and Fund kicked off its recent launch by awarding a $500 scholarship to Andrea Oyarzabal, an Idaho graduate student. Oyarazabal lauded Follow and Fund’s mission, saying:

“I think Follow and Fund, though in its nascent stages, is what the future of higher education funding in America will look like. Without a company like Follow and Fund, college will eventually be impossible for some.”

With the struggling economy and global competition for jobs, it’s more important than ever for young professionals to create future career opportunities by obtaining higher education. Through providing a way for students to proactively raise college funds, Follow and Fund will help equalize opportunities for higher education.

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Malcolm Hong is a writer and tech advocate with a passion for innovation. He’s connected to entrepreneurism and technology through his work managing the activities of the Idaho Technology Council, the state’s largest member-driven association that fosters the growth of Idaho’s tech ecosystem. Originally from Hawaii, Malcolm quickly realized that Idaho does a great job of growing startups, not just potatoes. Follow Malcolm on Twitter: @IDTechCouncil

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