The most popular crowd-funding sites, Kickstarter and Indiegogo, have been slower to embrace a native mobile experience. With Kickstarter, the official app is iPhone-only at present, and Indiegogo doesn’t have an app at all. Recently launched FunderCloud can help with that, offering a way to browse and search across both sites at once, on either iPhone or iPad.
FunderCloud was the result of one man’s frustration, David Knell, a full-time systems engineer, indie iOS developer and self-described “huge crowd-funding fan.” Like many of us, he was also annoyed at the lack of a native iPad experience for these services. “I have personally backed many projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and have been waiting for an iPad app from either of them,” he said at the time of the app’s 1.0 launch earlier this fall. “Nobody has delivered, so I built one that works for both sites.”
He also wanted an easier way to search projects across both sites, he says, which is something the app’s early adopters appreciate, too. “I think people don’t like jumping between different user experiences to perform similar tasks,” says Knell.
With the FunderCloud mobile app, users can browse and filter projects by site, popularity, creation time or end time, location and category, and can quickly favorite projects and receive alerts when the project is nearing the end of its raise.
The app was updated at the end of November to include a search option and the above-mentioned notifications, which are two fairly notable additions that now make FunderCloud a much-improved experience over the original release. Search, in particular, was one of the most-requested features to date, in fact.
Knell is not a fan of using in-app purchases, he tells us, because he doesn’t think people should be nickel-and-dimed every time they want to use a feature. So he made the FunderCloud app a one-time fee of $1.99 in the App Store. That fee, though, will limit the app’s scale, possibly only reaching the most serious crowd-funding enthusiasts. But Knell is okay with that, noting that he’s a one-man shop, and is keeping things lean, even responding to customer emails himself, as well as helping those who are experiencing a problem directly.
For example, Kickstarter prohibits third parties from using any processes to manually or automatically crawl the pages of its website, and says the service is provided for “your own personal, non-commercial use.” Indiegogo also has a line prohibiting automated systems. However, in both cases, the context of those clauses involves statements about protecting the site’s security, infrastructure, and preventing spam, which could leave room for an interpretation that would make what FunderCloud does more permissible.
Says Knell, he’s read and re-read the terms on both sites, and tried to be respectful as possible to make the service as non-invasive as Pinterest or a search engine. “You can actually Pin a Kickstarter project and the same information that is displayed in FunderCloud will be displayed in Pinterest,” he says. “I am not selling or licensing their content out. In fact, I’ve been very cognizant of how much data I show on the listing screen,” Knell adds.
Further down the road, Knell may consider adding more sites beyond Kickstarter and Indiegogo if there’s demand…or, we suppose, if the app isn’t shut down first.
FunderCloud is $1.99 on iTunes.