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This article was published on January 25, 2014

    App.net launches Backer, a service to help startups and developers crowdfund new features

    App.net launches Backer, a service to help startups and developers crowdfund new features
    Owen Williams
    Story by

    Owen Williams

    Former TNW employee

    Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

    App.net, the social platform by Dalten Caldwell has launched a new crowdfunding service called Backer that allows companies to ask users for money before committing to build software features.

    The idea behind Backer is that when a company wants to add a new feature to its software, it should be able to test just how much users desire a hypothetical feature by asking them to commit money to the functionality being built before development even begins.

    App.net believes that this method works better than traditional methods of gauging user interest because “running a poll or doing informal research can easily lead to false positives” whereas asking users to commit money leads to more reliable results.

    Backer comes after App.net launched a trial run that asked its users to commit Bitcoins before the service would add subscriptions to be paid with Bitcoin. Backer is now a platform of its own and App.net fully hosts the service for anyone who wants to use it. As with other crowdfunding services, if funding isn’t reached for any campaign on Backer before the end date, all money is refunded.

    Applications are now open for those who want to use Backer to crowdfund a new feature they have in mind.