33needs is a web application that connects social entreprensuers to microinvestments. “Backers” invest as little as $10 or 1 “Part” in a project they would like to fund and receive a % of revenue in return.
Provides a simple, easy to use platform for fundraising that enables users to create a “badge” that integrates with any webpage. Requires a Paypal account.
Crowdrise combines social action with community building. Users can create their own campaign within Crowdrise (receive your own url) and learn from others to make their efforts more effective. Integrates video and social media tools like Facebook and Twitter well.
Through the Causes application, anyone with a Facebook account can create fundraising efforts within the Facebook network. Helps to also have a Facebook Page or standalone website dedicated to your effort.
Feed the Muse
Feed the muse is one of the more idiosyncratic crowdfunding sites out there, perhaps because it caters to musicians and artists. But, they have good tools and smart social media integration.
Billed as a fundraising tool for creative, Kickstarter enables users to create and manage fully featured campaigns that can attract substantial visibility. A US bank account and address are required to start a project.
Fellowships: prestigious by nature, fellowships may provide seed money, but do far more for inventor teams, helping them get their project off the ground through networking, media exposure, and consultations to refine the invention itself. Fellowships place teams squarely in the ever-expanding network of social entrepreneurs, providing new and helpful contacts to experts in their field.
Through its Venture program, Ashoka awards entrepreneurs fellowships. Fellows get a 3-year living stipend to focus on implementing their ideas. Ashoka fellows become part of a global network, which Ashoka helps foster through infrastructure.
Echoing Green grants fellowships to social entrepreneurs. Fellows become part of a vast network, receive seed funding, consulting, access to pro bono partnerships, all of which help the companies take off.
Incubators: provide a tight-knit community of like-minded individuals, aiming to teach young entrepreneurs all they need to know to get their ideas off the ground
First Light Ventures
A part of investment giant Gray Ghost Ventures, First Light is an incubator focusing on for-profit social ventures in the pilot stages, in order to help realize them.
Public Service Center
MIT’s Public Service Center funds local, national, and international public service projects through grants and fellowships. The PSC was the first source of funding for Jodie Wu’s Global Cycle Solutions, allowing her to go to Tanzania.
Aimed at start-ups led by college freshman and sophomores, Sparkseed provides mentoring, pro-bono consulting, technical support and networking, helping young teams develop valuable skills and connections, as well as providing small amounts of capital.
The Unreasonable Institute
The Unreasonable Institute selects 25 social entrepreneurs as fellows to attend a 10-week summer program, where they create and hone a business plan to produce sustainable, scalable change. At the end of the program, fellows pitch their projects to investors. The Unreasonable Institute also has a $150,000 fund that the 25 selected entrepreneurs choose to divide amongst themselves.
Competitions: generally sponsored by incubators, universities, and non-profit organizations, and other foundations interested in funding social entrepreneurs, competitions are a great way for inventor teams to meet with other teams, gain crucial media exposure, and, ultimately, secure funding for their projects. For example, Drew Dubin’s Anza Technologies won 16 contests, raising enough money to really take off in Tanzania. Our website will provide a detailed list of competitions.
Gray Matters Capital
Gray Ghost’s Gray Matters Capital invests in early-stage for-profits that seek to help the livelihood of the working poor in developing countries. They focus on ventures that have already had financial and social returns.
Investor’s Circle is a well-established angel-network that connects venture capitalists and foundations with social and environmental entrepreneurs. They provided the first funding for companies like Zipcar, Honest Tea, Niman Ranch, and only consider companies that expect to make $5 million in five years.
Angel Investors: affluent individuals who chose to provide inventor teams with funding, whether to cover start-up costs or assist with day-to-day operations. Increasingly, investors are pooling their money to more efficiently raise capital. Invested Development is developing an Angel Software tool, through which young inventor’s will list their projects, and funders will be able to review their projects online and consider them for funding.