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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Wix.Com Co-Founders Invest In give2gether, an Intelligent Crowdfunding Platform

Next-Gen Crowdfunding Can Triple Donor Engagement Rates

(New York, NY, September 3rd, 2014) Co-founders, Giora Kaplan, Avishai Abrahami and Nadav Abrahami, for Wix.com, a leading web development platform, have personally invested in give2gether (www.give2gether.com). give2gether is the world’s first crowdfunding platform that uses advance game theory optimization algorithm to enable nonprofits to raise significantly more funds through targeted crowdfunding campaigns. The Wix co-founders will not be taking on any official role in give2gether and will not be involved in the day to day operation of the company.

give2gether’s crowdfunding platform enables user to set up fundraising campaigns that are fully integrated with their social media efforts in less than 15 seconds. Based on ten years of research and five years of actual testing of live campaigns, give2gether provides nonprofits with a comprehensive solution for managing all their online fundraising needs such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer, teams and event fundraising, automated receipts, social sharing, and CRM integration.

The announcement was made today by Arnon Shafir, CEO and Co-Founder of give2gether.

“My Wix co-founders and I invested in give2gether not only because of its great product and the intelligent way they disrupt this $20 billion market but also because we know this investment goes beyond great ROI,” said Giora Kaplan, Wix Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer. “Every dollar invested in it will yield a 10 times multiplier in some charitable cause THIS year, and that’s a great double impact investment.”

give2gether is the only platform in the world based on a distinctive optimization engine that can advise nonprofits in determining critical giving parameters for the success of their crowdfunding campaigns such as contribution range, duration of campaign, and a donation default value.

“The Wix co-founders believe that give2gether is outsmarting the crowdfunding heavyweights,” said Shafir. “Because give2gether powers a new generation of smart crowdfunding campaigns to not be just social or cool. Our vision is a revolution, a type of democratization of fundraising.”

give2gether was co-founded by senior economics professors at New York University (NYU is a minority shareholder in give2gether) and Professor Shachar Kariv, UC Berkeley Economics Department Chair who consults with government and inter-government organizations and whose groundbreaking research work has been published in the American Economic Review, Games and Economic Behavior, and most recently in the prestigious Science magazine.

What makes people buy/invest/give?

give2gether uses unique algorithms to help nonprofits predict online donor preferences and behavior. Similar to the Nobel Prize auction mechanisms adopted by Google in its advertising platforms back in 2002, give2gether is based on intelligent mechanisms that according to Kariv, “improve the probability of success for nonprofits crowdfunding campaigns. The understanding that giving is not only about the particular donor, but mainly about the social impact, individual interactions and lack of information with other online donors is key.”

Like Kickstarter, give2gether recommends a conditional fundraising approach. If a targeted fundraising goal isn’t met in the specified period of time, donors can either get their money back or divert it to a different cause. “As counter intuitive as it may sound, so is most good recommendations of game theory,” says professor Kariv. “The secret sauce and algorithmic insights on ‘what makes people give’ is what sets it apart. The suggested gift levels, and various non-intuitive parameters such as the restricted contribution range motivates people to give more and engages three times more visitors to turn into donors.

Interesting give2gether Facts:

  • give2gether boasts an impressive success rate, with more than $5.5 million raised to date.
  • In 2013, nearly 80% of give2gether’s campaigns were successfully funded.
  • Linkin Park, who partnered with Save the Children, were the first give2gether commercial campaign to raise more than $360,000 in 30 days through crowdfunding in order to provide help for tsunami relief in Japan.
  • Nathan Low’s “Bike for Chai Life Line” individual fundraising page raised more than $155,000.
  • An average individual page on give2gether raises more than $2,800.
  • Eight give2gether campaigns have raised more than $300,000 each.
  • The average crowdfunding campaign is five weeks and raises $38,000.
  • One give2gether campaign raised $60,000 in less than 24 hours.
  • The FIDF (The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces) and a few other $100 million New York based charities as well as Brandeis University, ASU, Niagara University and Hadassah have all used give2gether.
  • Animal welfare organizations seem to be the early adopters of give2gether crowdfunding platforms in North America. Nonprofits such as the Connecticut Humane Society and calendar contests like “Make Your Pet a Star” or the most recent Medical Emergency campaign saving more than 32 fairy animals by the BCSPCA (The British Columbia Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals, Canada) raised over $400,000 in total through give2gether.
  • “Save a Child’s Heart to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro,” raised over $700,000 through give2gether.
  • give2gether provides a SaaS (software as a service) crowdfunding platform allowing midsize and enterprise nonprofits to raise two times more revenue at 1/5 of traditional cost.
  • give2gether won the best StartUp award from the Israeli military Unit 8200.
  • In 2013 over $21 billion was raised online through crowdfunding.
  • Within ten years commercial/investment crowdfunding is projected to surpass $93 billion according to a recent UC-Berkeley study commissioned by the government and inter-government organizations.

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Berkeley Expert Shares Crowdfunding Insights

Richard Swart is one of the leading minds in crowdfunding today, heading Berkeley’s Program in Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance (academic speak for crowdfunding).

Next week, Berkeley is a hosting its annual symposium on crowdfunding, where I will be honored to participate. Richard will also be speaking at GoodCrowd14, the Social Enterprise and Crowdfunding Conference, which he co-founded in 2013.

On Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 3:00 Eastern, Richard will join me for a live discussion about the crowdfunding industry, best practices and policies. Tune in here then.

You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes.

More about UC Berkeley:

The University of California was chartered in 1868 and its flagship campus — envisioned as a “City of Learning” — was established at Berkeley, on San Francisco Bay. Today the world’s premier public university and a wellspring of innovation, UC Berkeley occupies a 1,232 acre campus with a sylvan 178-acre central core. From this home its academic community makes key contributions to the economic and social well-being of the Bay Area, California, the nation, and the world.

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Richard’s bio:

Dr. Richard Swart is a PhD in Information Systems, an international award-winning academic and a recognized thought leader in the crowdfunding industry. He is research director at the University of California, Berkeley’s Program in Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance. This program is developing the world largest database about social finance, microlending and crowdfunding. He works closely with the administration, SEC, and international organizations promoting crowdfunding, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Richard is a founding board member of the Crowdfunding Professional Association (CfPA), the Crowdfunding Intermediary Regulatory Advocates (CIFRA), and an early leader in the field. Richard co-organized the first major national conference on crowdfunding and coordinated several educational events on the JOBS Act throughout the United States.

As Director of Research and Analysis for Crowdfund Capital Advisors (CCA) Richard works closely with the University of California, Berkeley in the Innovation in Entrepreneurial and Social Finance Program which is dedicated to academic research on crowdfunding and has CCA principals as founders. Richard led a research project for the World Bank exploring crowdfunding and funding models for innovative technology. 

After leaving Utah State University’s Huntsman School of Business where he taught Information Systems, he has worked with a number of startups and has become a key organizer in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. He is a former COO of an Internet startup that had a successful exit in 2010. Richard is a board member and strategic advisor to firms in the crowdfunding and crowdfund investing space. While Executive Vice President over Strategic Partnerships for Grow America Ventures Richard worked nationally to help develop initiatives around entrepreneur funding and business competitions.

Richard leverages over 20 years experience in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, proven leadership, academic rigor, deep connections across the US, and his extensive network to help educate and mentor firms, policy holders and businesses.  He has played a critical role behind the scenes helping drive crowdfunding forward in DC since the passage of the JOBS Act and is a highly trusted expert resource for governments, academics and crowdfunding platforms.

Current Projects Include:

  • Launching world’s first Exec Ed course in Corporate Crowdfunding
  • Researching how small business use alternative finance and Crowdfunding
  • Building largest data repository for crowdfunding and alternative finance research
  • Studying how multi-national NGOs and Organizations can empower projects with crowdfunding
  • Advising Universities on best-practices in crowdfunding

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The Spirit Of Entrepreneurship Can End Poverty And Those Of Us Fortunate Enough To Live In The West Can Help

Australian entrepreneur and adventurer Chris Ball is on a mission to help end poverty. In support of Spark International, Ball is covering the 2000 km from Seattle to San Francisco on a bicycle and within a daily budget of $3, which is the amount upon which people in half the developing world subsist.

Proudly US/Australian and not-for-profit, Spark International aims to lift 1 million people out of extreme poverty by enabling local entrepreneurs in Africa and the Pacific with social business ideas. Rather than throw money at problems and create a cycle of reliance, Spark visits the country to identify local entrepreneurs with ideas to employ others in their communities and combat poverty, mentor/support and even fund these local Changemakers with local solutions.

With an inspiring presentation for some of the world’s most innovative organizations, Ball is sharing the story of Spark and the local Changemakers it has enabled, in order to help secure funding for its next round of Changemakers in Papua New Guinea.

The message? Simple. Entrepreneurs and professionals in the West should step up to help entrepreneurs in developing countries end poverty.

“There’s no limit to what can be achieved when someone with a dream and the determination to realize it is set free. It’s not just about entrepreneurs. The key here is that it’s local entrepreneurs. Local people understand the problems and are more motivated to deliver solutions than an outsider ever could be,” Ball said.

Ball’s presentations, combined with US and Australian media, have a consistent call to action: visit www.seattle2sanfran.com and pledge your support to help end poverty.

This crowdfunding campaign will close on 30 September, and must hit at least $15,000 for Spark to conduct its next intake of 15 Changemakers in PNG. Every $1000 is another Changemaker enabled. For every $1.03 donated, a Spark* PNG Changemaker will change another human life in extreme poverty.

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