Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Crowdfunding Startups - SmallKnot

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How much do you love your local coffee shop? Enough to help its owner buy new tables and chairs?

The team behind crowdfunding venture Smallknot wants to take the "buy local" movement one step further. The new site aims to be a Kickstarter for small businesses, helping mom-and-pop stores raise capital for specific projects.

Smallknot's goal is to change the way people think about their local retail economy.

"It's a platform for funding, but it's also a tool for engagement," says Ben Rossen, one of Smallknot's three cofounders. "What we're trying to do is facilitate offline relationships."

Like on Kickstarter, participants indicate how much they need to raise to carry out a given project, such as installing a new air conditioner to accommodate summer customers or buying equipment for an expansion. In return, merchants offer rewards. Some of the current goodies include a private dinner party for 18 (available for a $600 "investment" in Brooklyn restaurant Beer Table) or a food tour of New York's Chinatown (yours for a $75 contribution to the Saucey Sauce Co.).

It's all-or-nothing: If the target isn't hit, the business doesn't get any money. Smallknot profits by taking a cut of the cash in successful fundraising campaigns.

"One of the things that's really important to us is that this does not feel like a donation," Rossen says. "There's a reason we use the word 'investment' all over the site, even though it's not perhaps the most traditional use of the word. The idea is, as a user, you get more back than you put in."

[Via - CNNMoney.Com]

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