Crowdfunding has been one of the hottest stories of 2012 to date, and the phenomenon — and most notably the Kickstarter website — has pushed on beyond the progress it made in last year.
Among the notable projects that have emerged this year. The Elevation Dock was the first to past $1 million, quickly followed by Double Fine Adventure, which went on to finish with more than $3 million. Equally, smaller projects — like long-form journalism project MATTER — have seen success and breezed past funding targets in days, if not hours.
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The growth and limitation of crowdsourced funding has spawned similar services in international markets — such as Ideame in Latin America — and it is Asia’s turn with the beta launch of Singapore-based ToGather, the region’s first such service.
Using a template that will be familiar to anyone who has ever visited the US equivalents, ToGather allows users to create projects which have 49 days to raise their target funding. The site is open to those in 18 countries in the region across the Asia Pacific region:
Australia, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and United Arab Emirates
Very much in the style of Kickstarter, ToGather allows customised donations and feature a page layout that is straight out of the book of the US market leader. Ideas are organised using keywords and country tags, and can be easily browsed on the site.
It isn’t entirely clear what fee that the service takes from its projects and, as you’d expect from a beta launch, there are not a lot of them — just 5 — nor donations yet. This chicken and egg situation is certainly going to be a challenge for ToGather and it will need to gain visibility if it is to gain the attention of would be ‘ToGatherers’ and future donors.
As we mentioned when covering Rocket Internet’s move to expand its services across Southeast Asia, the Asian continent as a whole is often chronically underserved by Western net firms, in spite of its vast potential.
Given the entrepreneurial nature and, in particular, strong aversion to risk of many in the region, crowdsourced funding could have a lot of potential in Asia. While it isn’t likely to rack up millions of dollars imminently, we’ll be keeping a close eye on ToGather and its progress as ‘Asia’s first Kickstarter’.