I have just attended the CrowdCamp, an event organized by the European Crowdfunding Network. Interesting and enlightening… but really complicated. Now you will be asking me what crowdfunding is, right? Well let me try to explain.
Like many of you, I love comics. Nothing to be ashamed of. When I read a comic book or watch a cartoon, I’m always in awe. I try to spend some time every day catching up with the latest adventures of my favorite superheroes.
Anyway, I know a guy who is almost 48 years old who devours comics as if they were made of sweet candy. I drop in on him once in a while and we have these endless discussions about which superheroes we like best. We agree on almost nothing; really, the discussions are pointless. We start out with our opinions and after two hours we haven’t budged an inch. Pointless but fun. He still thinks Hulk is the greatest superhero of all. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like the Hulk, but he definitely is not my favourite!
My friend told me that he once crowdfunded the creation of a comic book. The comic book was called “L’Emprise” (which means “The Grip” in French). He said that when he received a copy he felt proud to have contributed to producing it. Unfortunately, his comic is only in French, but there’s no help for that. After all, the author is Belgian and the book was published in Brussels. Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium and of Europe, but also the comic book capital of the world. And in Brussels they mostly speak French (Dutch and German too, but those languages are way out of my league).
Anyway, my curiosity was poked enough that I set out on one of my night-time excursions. I had never heard the word CROWDFUNDING before. Have you? This is why I went to the ECN CrowdCamp and this is what I learned.
If you have a cool project, even an entrepreneurial one, you can raise funds for it in a new way: Instead of asking for a large chunk of money from just a few people, you can ask a lot of people (“a crowd”) to chip in with less money through online “crowdfunding platforms”.
I’ll give you a rough idea of how crowdfunding works with an example. Quite a lot of money was needed for the creation of my friend’s comic book, “L’Emprise”. If you know French, you can gow on SANDAWE’s crowdfunding platform and read yourself. The creator, Jean-Mark Zakine, had to get 10,000 Euros to draw, edit, publish, promote and ship it. He thought it would be hard to find one person who would offer the whole amount, but he was certain he would succeed in finding a bunch of people willing to give him some of what he needed. Naturally, he had to convince the crowd, which he did by promising rewards to those who chipped in. The more money the funder contributed, the greater the reward. My friend is a bit stingy … so he gave just a small amount and got one of the smallest rewards (a copy of the comic book itself). Those who were generous received autographed copies or original drawings and more.
The campaign was successful. The author collected around 13,000 Euros – more than he had asked for! – from 219 people. The comic book was produced, and my friend spent last night reading it.
I find the whole thing so intriguing that I plan to spotlight crowdfunding at a future FlopCamp!
I’ll keep you posted!