ScitechStarter (http://scitechstarter.com), a new crowdfunding website for science and technology projects, is now accepting listing applications for ventures that require financial backing. The selected projects will be showcased on the site’s official launch, scheduled for the end of 2013′s first quarter. Approved projects are listed free of cost.
Crowdfunding is an Internet donation model in which entrepreneurs, inventors, scientists and other individuals asks the online public for monetary support. The model provides many with a welcome alternative to struggling to obtain traditional funds such as grants, and allows individual people to have a say in what type of work would be of benefit to society or the world.
“I wanted to invest in start-up companies that had promise and actually contributed to innovation,” explained Joseph Baylon, owner of ScitechStarter. “I have a passion for science and technology, and I believe they are the driving force of the economy.”
Baylon continued, “While there are other crowdfunding websites that cater to scientific projects and research, ScitechStarter differentiates itself from those sites via the broad array of scientific fields that we serve.” The website’s 30 categories cover all aspects of science, from aerospace and archaeology to science fiction to systems engineering to zoology. Each project undergoes review and requires approval before it can be launched.
After signing up at the website, project owners create a funding pitch that consists of a title, an overview of their project and a detailed description. Owners have the option of uploading files containing plans, images and other documents. In addition, owners can provide links to their LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and other social media accounts, and they can also provide project updates through the feed accounts.
There are several types of pledge amounts that a project owner can request: fixed minimums, unspecified amounts, fixed overall amounts or multiple suggested amounts. Project owners will only receive the money they raised when they have reached their stated goal amount. This also means that the amounts that funders pledged will be cancelled if the total goal amount is not met. ScitechStarter allows projects to collect more than the goal amount by default, a process which is called overfunding. It is the discretion of the project owner to override this setting and disable overfunding.
Project funders can provide financial support for multiple projects and may receive RSS and feed updates from project owners. ScitechStarter also enables funders to post comments on projects and project updates and offer advice and assistance to project owners.
Additionally, as part of their agreement for using the website, project owners must devise project-related rewards for their funders. Suggestions for rewards include prototypes or models of products developed during the project, signed first copies of a science fiction novel, a meet-and-dine event with inventors, limited-edition gadgets, newly-discovered planets named after the funder and so on.
But Baylon is not stopping with the reward-based system. As the United States moves to make crowd investing legal in January 2013, he is developing the capability for ScitechStarter.com. “Whether you’re a student, professional, faculty or someone with a curious mind, our goal is to make it easy as possible for you to start a project or fund your favorite ones,” he said.