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Updated Oct 23, 2023

Crowdfunding for Startups: 7 Kickstarter Alternatives

Though a great choice for crowdfunding campaigns, Kickstarter isn’t your only option. One of these alternatives might better suit your needs.

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Nicole Fallon, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Analyst
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This guide was reviewed by a Business News Daily editor to ensure it provides comprehensive and accurate information to aid your buying decision.

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Although Kickstarter is one of the most popular crowdfunding platforms, success there isn’t always guaranteed: For every project that meets its goal, there are dozens that just didn’t pick up enough steam to get funded. So where else can you turn? Whether you’re looking for a small investment to jump-start your company or a large round of capital to grow it to the next stage, here are 10 sites that can help you raise the money you need. 

Why is crowdfunding a viable business funding option?

Obtaining financing is one of the biggest hurdles for most entrepreneurs. If a bank loan won’t cover what you need and you don’t have any connections to investors, it can be tough to know where to begin. Online crowdfunding – raising smaller amounts of money from multiple backers – has become an increasingly common solution to this dilemma because it allows startups to reach out to a large number of potential investors at once.

[Read related article: What Is Crowdfunding?]

Kickstarter alternatives for crowdfunding

Here are some non-Kickstarter sites you can use to obtain startup funding through a large crowd of investors.

1. Crowdfunder

Crowdfunder is a U.K.-based equity crowdfunding platform that makes it easy for businesses to raise capital from its network of 1 million investors. The site allows startups to raise money through equity. There is a 5 percent standard project platform fee and a transaction fee of 2.4 percent + $0.25 + value-added tax. 

2. EquityNet

Startups interested in equity investors can sign up for EquityNet, a business crowdfunding platform that allows entrepreneurs to share their profiles and business plans with a network of more than 20,000 angel investors, venture capitalists and business supporters. EquityNet’s patented business plan and analysis software helps you optimize your planning and reach the investors who would be most interested in your project.

3. Fundable

Created by a team of startup founders who understand the challenges of raising capital, Fundable allows entrepreneurs to raise money from investors, customers and friends. Companies seeking funds can create a profile on the site, set their goals and rewards, and promote their campaign. 

Fundable offers companies the opportunity to provide reward-based fundraising and equity fundraising. Reward fundraising allows companies to offer rewards if the company is seeking less than $50,000. Equity fundraising, on the other hand, is for companies looking to raise a larger amount of money, and it requires a minimum commitment of $1,000 from backers.

Did You Know?Did you know
Equity fundraising is a great way to build partnerships with investors whom you can lean on to grow your business. However, you’ll have to closely vet your investors given how much control over your company you could be giving them.

4. Indiegogo

Of all the potential Kickstarter alternatives out there, Indiegogo is perhaps the best known. Over time, the platform has raised over $1 billion across all its crowdfunding campaigns, with more than 11 million individual contributions to date. 

You can work with expert companies that Indiegogo has vetted to oversee your campaign launch and, after that, product rollout. Additionally, Indiegogo has been known to greenlight crowdfunding campaigns Kickstarter has allegedly blocked.

5. MicroVentures

Since 2009, MicroVentures has been helping companies – including Facebook – access capital from both accredited and nonaccredited investors. The site focuses primarily on businesses in the software, mobile and green-tech industries that want to raise $150,000 to $1 million. MicroVentures reviews an applicant’s idea, team, traction, market size and other factors before selecting the startup to be featured on its site. From there, the funding process typically takes six weeks, according to the company’s website.

[Read related article: What Is a Business Microloan?]

6. Patreon

You can use Patreon to fund your projects through per-creation models. Through this model, interested parties will fund you for a certain project. This option is basically crowdfunding, though Patreon describes itself as a membership platform, not a crowdfunding site. 

As such, you can use Patreon to fund your operation through consumer payments if you regularly release content. You’ll get monthly subscriber payments for your content, and your customers will get exclusive access to your content. They’ll feel like they have a special relationship with you, and you’ll have a built-in base of loyal, recurring customers – not to mention more funding. 

7. StartEngine

You can run a regulation crowdfunding campaign through StartEngine, which Shark Tank investor Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary advises. Through this platform, you can crowdfund up to $5 million per year. Your campaign launch will cost little to no money and take four to six weeks. StartEngine also offers trade opportunities you can pursue after your campaign ends.

Crowdfunding dos and don’ts

Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind as you launch and manage your crowdfunding campaign.

Crowdfunding dos

  • Do carefully consider each platform. Would you rather base your campaign on equity funding or reward-based funding? Your answer to this question, among others, will eliminate certain crowdfunding platforms from consideration. Carefully consider what each platform offers before choosing the right one for your campaign.
  • Do prioritize transparency and share lots of information. Some people might find meaning in contributing to crowdfunding campaigns but have limited budgets. This is a big reason to be fully transparent in your crowdfunding campaign and share plenty of persuasive information about your offerings. The more forthright you are in all your materials, the more people will feel an emotional connection and invest in your opportunity over others.
  • Do prepare for potential liability. You should speak with an attorney and obtain business and general liability insurance before you launch your campaign. Business liability insurance can protect your personal assets if a campaign contributor sues you. General liability insurance can offer additional protection if your crowdfunding campaign leads to property damage or personal or advertising injuries. These are great backups if your product launch goes awry.

Crowdfunding don’ts

  • Don’t plan for a fully funded campaign. More often than not, you won’t get all the money you’re hoping for from your crowdfunding campaign. Even if you do, though, that money might cover just one project or business phase. Future initiatives or growth periods might require more money than possible from one campaign. You can always run another crowdfunding campaign when these moments arise.
  • Don’t overlook expenses and taxes. Typically, the income you raise from your crowdfunding campaign counts as business income. This makes it taxable in exactly the same way as all your other revenue. On top of this expense, you’ll likely have to pay a fee to use whichever platform you decide is the best fit. Sure, the money you bring in will likely cover these costs, but you might also want to increase your fundraising goal.
  • Don’t just post your campaign and walk away. Just as with any other content you create, you’ll need to promote and market your crowdfunding campaign. For better marketing outcomes, your crowdfunding campaign should tell a story rather than just stating why you’re seeking money. From there, you should leverage your social media presence, email marketing efforts and other channels to spread your campaign wide and far.
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With crowdfunding, you have options

While Kickstarter might be the go-to platform for all things crowdfunding, you certainly have other choices. To find the right fit for your business, you should consider what types of crowdfunding are available on each platform. From there, making the most of a crowdfunding campaign involves mostly the same steps as you would normally take to promote and market your business. And while success isn’t guaranteed, diligence and care can certainly make it more likely.

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Nicole Fallon, Business Ownership Insider and Senior Analyst
Nicole Fallon is a small business owner with nearly a decade of experience overseeing day-to-day business operations. She and her co-founder self-funded their company and now lead a team of employees across multiple disciplines. Fallon's first-hand experience as an entrepreneur running a staffed business has given her unique insight into startup culture, budgeting, employer-employee relationships, sales and marketing, and project management. Fallon's business expertise is evident in her work with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where she analyzes small business trends. Her writing has been published in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Newsweek, and she enjoys collaborating with B2B and SaaS companies.
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