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How crowdfunding can get your project off the ground

posted Oct 27, 2014, 12:45 AM by J Shaw   [ updated Oct 27, 2014, 12:45 AM ]
A comic book about a 16-year-old bounty hunter, a bedside device for charging gadgets and a pledge to dig a hole to the centre of the earth are just some of the Irish projects that have recently gone up on the world's biggest crowdfunding website.

Kickstarter, a global crowdfunding platform based in the US, went live in Ireland earlier this week. Having already helped 135,000 ideas get funded, the site has now attracted projects from all over the country.

Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending are a fast-expanding business in Ireland. The model involves people, often non-experts, investing small sums of money in a business, usually through a third party platform. Some of these sites have existed in Ireland for years, such as Fund It, while some are relatively new, such as which was launched in July.

Crowdfunding has proved an effective way for many small businesses or artists to raise cash quickly. We take a look at some Irish projects that used crowdfunding that may not have gotten over the line otherwise.

Granby Park

While the view in inner city Dublin can be somewhat dull, for a month in the summer of 2013 Dominick Street residents were treated to the sight of a park on their doorstep.

Granby Park was a pop-up park that was partially funded through an online campaign on Fund It and was organised through the collaborative group Upstart, attracting 40,000 visitors in the month it was up.

Sam Bishop, one of Upstart's members who helped organise the project, said: "The park was collectively run and conceived, so it felt right that we involved people in every aspect, including raising finances."

Over €22,000 was raised from 1,000 donors, which Sam says got people more invested. "People were giving money so everyone in Dublin could benefit."

Evo Gym

After applying to several traditional financial institutions for a loan to help open a new gym, Paul O'Callaghan initially turned to Irish crowdfunding site Linked Finance as something of a last resort, but was impressed by how efficient the process was.

"We were looking for about €19,000 for the first one. We got bids of up to €30,000 so the interest rate dropped under 10pc.

"The other time we were relocating a studio and were looking for €10,000. Linked Finance turned around our application in 24 hours. It was live on the site the next day. You wouldn't get that from a traditional financial institution," he said.

Paul now has four gyms employing ten people, and says that he would consider crowdfunding again for raising capital.

Blanco Nino

Contrary to most of those who use crowdfunding, Philip Martin sees it more as a way of building brand awareness than raising finance.

As well as raising €44,000 from two fundraising rounds on Linked Finance, Philip also raised £124,000 on British equity fundraising site Crowdcube for his new manufacturing facility Blanco Nino, which aims to establish a corn tortilla factory in Dublin.

He said: "Crowdfunding is a way of proving your idea is worth it, it gets people involved, they feel a sense of ownership of the business."


Conceived almost three years ago, Smorgasboard is a board game based around food-related activities. After raising just €9,000 last year through a Fund It campaign, Richard Kelly and his wife Maggie were able to successfully pitch their product to toy manufacturing giant Hasbro, and it is now in shops nationwide.

"Crowdfunding was a fantastic process for us, it was great as both a financial and a marketing tool," said Richard.

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