Indiegogo, the website that allows people to contribute money to the causes, artistic projects, and small companies they support, has attracted a good amount of success in the four years since it was founded in early 2008: 100,000 projects from more than 196 countries have been added to the site to date. In the process, it’s even helped to put the concept of “crowdfunding” well into the mainstream. But Indiegogo is officially making it clear that it’s aiming to make an even bigger impact — and the company has closed on $15 million in brand new funding to do so.
Indiegogo’s new $15 million round, which serves as the company’s Series A, was led by Insight Venture Partners and Khosla Ventures, with the participation of existing Indiegogo investors Metamorphic Ventures, MHS Capital, ffVenture Capital, and Steve Schoettler. According to the company, this is the largest funding round of a crowdfunding platform to date. Prior to this, Indiegogo’s only outside funding was a $1.5 million seed round it raised about one year ago.
We talked to Indiegogo’s co-founder and CEO Slava Rubin to hear about the new funding from the horse’s mouth, and you can watch our interview with him in the TechCrunch TV video embedded above. Indiegogo is based in San Francisco, but Rubin was doing some business in New York this week, so we were happy to have him join us via Skype.
Making a wide scope wider
In many ways Indiegogo’s most well-known and visible competitor is Kickstarter, but the company is keen to point out what sets it apart from other players in the space. For one thing, Indiegogo is active globally in 196 countries and accepts all types of projects, whereas Kickstarter is focused only in the United States and aims to keep its project limited to the creative space. “We’re completely open to any idea, any campaign, and any idea in the world without any judgement,” Rubin said. With the new funding, it will just work on expanding that reach further.
Equity-based crowdfunding is a definite option
Another option for expansion is the equity-based crowdfunding that will soon be made possible by the JOBS Act signed into law by President Obama this past spring, which makes it possible for non-accredited investors to receive equity for investing money into private companies.
Up until now, only accredited investors have been able to receive financial stakes in companies that they funded — so today sites like Indiegogo only allow for non-equity based funding. Once the crowdfunding portion of the JOBS Act is approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which is expected to occur in late 2012 or early 2013, equity-based funding will be legal for all investors. According to Rubin, Indiegogo could very well opt to open itself up to those kinds of transactions when the time comes.
Growing in numbers, too
The new funding will be put toward general growth initiatives, too. Right now Indiegogo has about 20 employees — up from 5 people just a year ago — and it expects that headcount to grow in the weeks and months ahead, Rubin said. The company has been generating revenue from Day One, so that stands to grow in the future as well; so it will be exciting to see what it does with this new, big influx of outside capital.