San Francisco-based crowdfunding platform Indiegogo announced today that it will expand its offerings in key global markets including Canada, France, Germany and UK by offering local currencies, languages, and localized search and discovery of projects. In doing so it will continue with its mission of enabling anyone to launch a crowdfunding campaign, which could range from a creative, cause-related, or entrepreneurial project, with over 100,000 campaigns started to date.
“Offering more localized features is part of Indiegogo’s continued focus to improve the customer experience and provide relevant local market content for campaign owners and funders,” said co-founder Danae Ringelmann in a statement to BetaKit. “France, Germany, UK and Canada are all top international Indiegogo markets in terms of campaign and funder activity. Thirty percent of our business is international, which is a significant number considering up until today, Indiegogo.com has only offered English and U.S. dollars.”
With the release of the new features, campaign organizers will now be able to process transactions in Canadian Dollars, Euros, and British Pounds, in addition to adding language support for both French and German. Given that Canada is the crowdfunding platform’s second largest market after the U.S., both in terms of campaign launches and contributions, Canadians will now be able to access campaigns in both of the country’s official languages (English and French) and receive bilingual customer support.
Unlike competitor Kickstarter, Indiegogo offers campaigners the ability to select a ‘flexible funding’ option where they can keep contributions even if they don’t reach 100 percent of their funding goals, paying four percent if they do get full backing or nine percent of whatever amount they raise if its less than 100 percent. However, for its ‘fixed funding’ option where campaigners have to be fully funded to receive any of the contributions, the platform charges a straight four percent of the total funds raised.
Crowdfunding as a whole is continuing to see a lot changes in the landscape with President Obama signing the ‘Jumpstart Our Business Startup’ (JOBS) act in April, permitting anyone to buy shares in private companies, and letting companies raise funds through crowdfunding platforms, which has given rise to platforms like Mircroventures and CircleUp. In terms of international competition, yesterday two popular platforms in the UK, Peoplefund.it and Crowdfunder, announced they were merging, which comes shortly after crowdfunding heavyweight Kickstarter’s October 2012 launch in the UK. Not to mention more niche crowdfunding platforms like Microryza, focused exclusively on serving the scientific community, which BetaKit covered earlier in the year.
“Indiegogo has been around since 2008 and with hundreds of crowdfunding sites having launched since then, it means that crowdfunding opportunity is real and promising,” Ringelmann added. “This focus on better serving local markets is all about continuing to improve the customer experience on our platform.”
According to the company this is just the first of many added features designed to make its platform friendly in multiple international markets. It also proved that it’s not just a place to crowdfund for a hot startup or an indie band but relief efforts as well, with the platform helping to raise over $200,000 for Sandy victims after the recent hurricane. As Kickstarter continues to gain popularity in the U.S., Indiegogo’s strategy of building local communities will likely help it keep its footing in the crowdfunding space, though with a UK launch in the last couple months, Kickstarter will likely look to additional international markets in 2013.