Entrepreneurs have long used friends and family members to help start up new business ideas, taking money from a wide variety of people who more or less expect no return. These people are just willing to help get the idea off the ground.
With the explosion of social media and the internet, the scope for building seed funding and scaling it has grown exponentially. One of the first formal sites to capitalise on this was Kickstarter in the US, who are now running projects that are sourcing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Here in Ireland we also have a hugely successful crowdsourced funding website, Fundit. Fundit has primarily focused on the Arts and has been instrumental in getting numerous projects off the ground. Silicon Republic recently reported that it managed to fund 143 creative projects in just one year, after it received pledges of more than €632,000 from the public.
This is definitely a new wave of funding opportunity that people need to take note of. I do not think that it will be the sole and only way to fund projects, but it certainly helps at the seed stage. The process is not easy and takes up a huge amount of time. It also requires you to ask friends for money (something that many people are not comfortable with). However, it is definitely worth the experiment, you will learn a huge amount about project management, funding and your audience. Go forth and Fund It!
Some projects worth funding: