Crowd Coffee: January 12

Contribute to the Movenergy Campaign Crowdfunding

Google has managed to map most of the world. Recently, the company offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how it built the Google Maps application using a combination of technology (the Google Street View car); expansion (the acquisition of satellite-imagery startup Skybox); and algorithms (computer vision, photogrammetry, mapping). The company’s initial focus had been on the world’s population centres. In 2006, Google had used high resolution satellite imagery to map 37 per cent of the world’s population; by 2012 that number had risen to 75 per cent.

Companies face many challenges and these challenges can certainly be crowdsourced. But that doesn’t mean the crowd can solve all those problems on time. There is an inherent uncertainty associated with crowdsourcing in the sense that companies don’t know if they are going to get an answer by the end of their campaign. Therefore, it’s better for mission critical and extremely difficult issues to work with a smaller group or a “controlled crowd” or alternatively have a plan B in place in case the crowd can’t come up with a solution on time.

This Startup Is Crowdsourcing Legal Counsel For Entrepreneurs | ForbesIn truth, many new business owners can’t afford the high costs of a law firm and yet need legal counsel to ensure they’re following regulations. That’s where UpCounsel comes in. They provide free software that matches attorneys to clients and tasks, and also serves as a secure virtual workspace where the parties can manage communications, documents and digital signatures. I spoke with Matt Faustman, co-founder and CEO of UpCounsel to learn more about how he started the company, and how it can help other entrepreneurs succeed.

Launching a campaign with controlled boundaries might be a good solution in case we want to avoid such issues. A great example is when Air France launched an open innovation contest few years ago to design a new in-flight meal tray and tableware. Air France didn’t open the contest to the whole world but only to a pre-selected list of participants. The French company decided to go after students and young adults who had graduated from design, fine art, graphic art and industrial design schools in a handful of countries – France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Fundrise to bring real estate crowdfunding to Detroit | Crains Detroit BusinessThe Washington, D.C.-based crowdfunding platform has been active in the state, talking with legislators, the Michigan Municipal League and people behind the Michigan Invests Locally Exemption(MILE), passed a year ago to grease the skids for intrastate crowdfunding. Fundrise specializes in real estate projects, investing its own money into them. It then funds this investment through sales of “project payment dependent notes,” which are directly tied to Fundrise’s preferred equity stake in the real estate project. Investors buy them through the Fundrise website and gain or lose according to the performance of the notes.

Taiwan to Create New Crowdfunding Platform for Young Entrepreneurs | Crowdfund InsiderTaiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) plans to create a new crowdfunding platform, with a website active as soon as March 2015. According to a report in the China Post, The site will help young entrepreneurs raise money, as well as be a type of “personal venture capital,” according to the FSC. Commission chairman Tseng Ming-Chung noted that the website is part of this year’s development strategy.

Crowdfunding? 5 things to consider before starting a campaign | Crains Detroit Business Set aside some time. A common misconception is that crowdfunding is fast and easy. Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean a campaign can be posted one week and money collected the next. Gathering investors, even through online platforms, calls for financial documents, business plans, investment plans, risk assessments and anything else a business would bring to traditional investors.

Uber success spawns spate of sharing-economy ventures | Business in VancouverValuations for disruptive-technology startups are soaring, planting big dreams in the heads of Vancouver entrepreneurs who have founded shared-economy ventures. They’re aiming for their enterprises to one day match the US$41.2 billion valuation that Uber Technologies Inc. achieved in November, when investors paid $1.2 billion for a stake in the car-hailing service. Or even the US$10 billion valuation that accommodation-sharing service Airbnb was tagged with in April.

Tags: crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, innovation, sharing-economy


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