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Diversifying Tech: Crowdfunding For Women And Underserved Groups

posted Jul 5, 2014, 11:45 PM by Siamak Ebarhimi



If you look around the tech landscape, it becomes clear that the sector is mostly dominated by men. Particularly young men, which Silicon Valley has often favored — both in talent and in leadership. According to Newsweek, 13 percent of all venture capital deals in 2013 went to women(with 87 percent of deals going to all male teams).crowdfunding marketing


https://sites.google.com/site/crowdfundingsmadeeasy/about-us

In Los Angeles, a new crowdfunding platform calledFund Dreamer, launched in December 2013, aims to bring more women and diversity groups into the tech and business worlds.

Their platform specifically supports female-led businesses and projects, as well as those led by diversity groups and founders, including African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic and Latino groups, Lesbian, Gay , Bisexual, and Transgender groups, Native American or American Indian groups, U.S. religious minorities, and veterans.crowdfunding advertising

One of the featured projects on the Fund Dreamer site is in the video above. The project is called “Play Date” and attempts to tackle homelessness through film:


We recently talked with the founder of Fund Dreamer, Ellie Shapiro, who, with over 20 years experience in the tech sector, in IT and in business development, saw and knew the apparent holes in the market.indiegogo marketing


Kozlowski: What was your inspiration for creating this?
She spoke about about how her crowdfunding platform got started, why they are choosing to try to diversify the tech world, and what they hope the future looks like.

Ellie Shapiro: As a female IT veteran with over 20 years of experience, I have seen a lot of women whose ideas have been cast aside, only to find out that it was later moved to a male counterpart for development.kickstarter marketing

My team and I used our knowledge in technology to create a platform for change and help level out the playing field. We realized that women and diversity groups often have great ideas, but lack the funding. 

We want to revolutionize the dynamics in the start-up business and technology world. We see the inequality and are doing our part to generate change; we created Fund Dreamer to do just this.kickstarter project

Kozlowski: How does it work?

Shapiro: Fund Dreamer disrupts the marketplace by providing an affordable platform for crowdfunding projects. We only charge 1% compared to Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and PledgeMusic; these platforms charge an alarming fee of 5%-15%.

In addition, you can cash out at any time [instead of at the end of a campaign]. Our disruption of the crowdfunding market is accomplished by providing the ultimate campaign flexibility with the lowest fees in the industry.

Kozlowski: What are some of the key projects that you’ve supported thus far?

Shapiro: Play Date - Play Date is a short film about a little girl who discovers a homeless woman in her backyard and invites her inside for a play date, without her distracted parents noticing. Play Date takes a light-hearted approach to the issue of homelessness, an invisible part of our daily lives that’s happening right in our own backyards. The film will challenge preconceptions and turn expectations upside down.

A percentage of all proceeds will be donated to OPCC, an organization in Santa Monica, California, dedicated to improving and rebuilding the lives of homeless individuals.

Ecopod - Ecopod is a product designed to eradicate world hunger. It’s the world’s first industrial, scalable, soil, and substrate free cultivation system. With it one can grow fruit and vegetables with out any soil or water. It uses only minerals. It was developed in Israel, with the idea of improving food production in harsh, desert climates.CrowdFunding advertizing


Variedades con Sandra 
- Variedades con Sandra is a weekly show for discussion of important issues affecting Central Americans locally in Los Angeles and across the United States. Sandra covers topics such as immigration, local and national politics, women’s health, fashion, and beauty. She has interviewed numerous Latino public officials, political candidates, businessmen, musicians, poets, and other intellectuals and organizations.The goal of Ecopod is to produce the highest quality fruits and vegetables quickly and economically. They’ve completed their first round of major testing in Los Angeles, California.

It’s the only show that caters to both Central Americans and the larger Hispanic audience by providing engaging and informative content, and positively celebrating the diversity of all the various Hispanic cultures.CrowdFunding marketing

Kozlowski: What are your business goals for the rest of 2014?

Shapiro: On a strategic level our key focus for 2014 is to acquire more campaigns. We are also introducing new capabilities on our crowdfunding platform. One being, creating a community of practice for women and diversity groups, where they can support each other not only for fundraising purposes, but for guidance and advice. Our other goals include:

  • Disrupt the crowdfunding industry by providing an affordable platform.
  • Shake the foundation of the funding market by closing the gap on race and gender inequality.
  • Create a community for women and diversity groups and the investors that believe in them.
  • Be a market leader and a single stop for women and diversity groups to raise funds.
  • We aim to be a leader in funding technological innovations, medical innovations, environmental solutions, and innovations for the social good.Kickstarter Marketing

Kozlowski: What do you hope to achieve through your platform in the long-term?

Shapiro: We aim to support more women and diversi

ty group entrepreneurs by connecting them with VCs, angel investors, and donors. One of our valued tenets is to adhere to conscious capitalism, and we realize that the best way to make an impact is through investing. FundDreamer strives to create a community of investors who share those same ideals.


Shapiro:
 Aside from our crowdfunding platform, we can also provide start-up acceleration services in our technology incubator, NextGenTM, where we provide office space, business planning, strategic market advisory services, and financial plans. NextGenTM only comes into focus, if a Woman or Diversity group-owned business or startup is planning to incubate with us for a small equity distribution.Kozlowski: How else, beside your platform, could women, diversity groups, and underserved communities be better served in the start-up world? What doesn’t exist that you would like to see? 
Indiegogo Marketing

FundDreamer also plays our own part in supporting the startup community by hosting business planning sessions with CEOs. We advise them on business plan development and clearing the hurdles that they will face as a start-up. We perform these activities in a 2-3 hour sessions at our tech hub in Malibu, California. This is provided free by Fund Dreamer, with no charges to the startup CEO.

In addition, we firmly believe that the change needs to st

art at the school level. We, as a community, need to foster STEM and STEAM programs. We would also like to see more mentor programs for women and diverse men in business.

We need more women and diversity groups investing in other each other. The best way to make an impact is to speak through your investment choices.crowdfunding websites

For more on Fund Dreamer, see their video on how the platform works.

Posted from : http://www.forbes.com/sites/lorikozlowski/2014/06/24/diversifying-tech-rowdfunding-or-women-and-underserved-groups/

By David Khorram  www.CrowdFundingPlanning.com