Crowdfunding platform Indiegogo just raised $15 million from venture capital investors in order to staff up, build out and take on Kickstarter and 400 other competitors (including one crowdfunding platform that launched after raising money on Indiegogo). “We launched in January 2008 and we’ve been growing pretty steadily,” founder and CEO Slava Rubin told Betabeat from some unspecified location in New York. “We want to improve the product to make it easier and better to have campaign owners get discovered and get more funding.”
Mr. Rubin is headed to Chicago tomorrow, where he’ll speak about job creation at the Clinton Global Initiative summit. Indiegogo only has 20 employees in San Francisco, where it’s based, New York and L.A. The company had five people when it raised money last year. “We are hiring in New York. We are hiring in San Francisco more, but we absolutely are hiring in New York. Hiring is our number one thing right now,” Mr. Rubin said.
Indiegogo, which has funded small businesses including Dun Well Donuts in Brooklyn; films (including Bully, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and Give Up Tomorrow, which won the audience choice award there); and a baby, by way of a couple in Florida that needed an in vitro fertilization treatment.
Indiegogo was also invited to the White House for the JOBS Act signing. But here in New York, the company seems like an underdog to hometown hero Kickstarter, which recently blew minds with the campaign for a smartphone-esque watch that topped out at more than $10 million.
Indiegogo funds more business ventures, while Kickstarter is still tightly focused on creative endeavors. Projects on Indiegogo don’t get vetted, while Kickstarter reviews applications in order to determine that projects meet its terms of service. “Everyone has an equal opportunity to be promoted,” Mr. Rubin said. Indiegogo uses an algorithm that decides which projects to promote based on activity and engagement metrics like “funding velocity,” he said. The company also prides itself on its “customer happiness” team.
“We’re really trying to create a new way for people to get funding where everyone has an equal opportunity,” Mr. Rubin said. “The reason the new investors got in is because of the success we’ve had in the last 18 months… we have been growing steadily and we believe there is an enormous market to be had.”