Crowdfunding Changes the Game for Creative Entrepreneurs

Danae Ringelmann | BCBusiness
Indiegogo founder Danae Ringelmann

Vancouver entrepreneurs turn to a crowdfunding platform with a B.C. connection

When an entrepreneur wants to open up a restaurant, a bank loan or funding from friends and family might seem obvious choice. But when Dane Brown and Clinton McDougall decided to open up a beer-and-sausage shop in Vancouver’s Chinatown, they instead opted to fundraise from a group of random, interested strangers online using Indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform with a B.C. connection. 

The result? The duo raised $10,000 in five days, and more than $15,000 overall, promising perks like “magic sausage cards” and future meals to curious Vancouverites in search of beer-in-steins and authentic currywurst. 

“Indiegogo allows people to raise money to fund projects they’re passionate about,” says co-founder Danae Ringelmann, an attendee of the 2013 GROW Conference.  The site touts itself as a platform upon which anyone, anywhere can start a campaign.

Since 2008, Indiegogo has been one of the few prominent crowdfunding platforms open to Canadians. Come September, that will change as Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform which become synonymous with the industry itself, enters the Canadian market.

“We’ve been in Canada since day one, and its our second-largest market behind the U.S.,” says Ringelmann, who sees Indiegogo as different from its competitors because of its openness and hands-off approach to campaigns on its site. 

It’s also hosted B.C.-based campaigns for the past five years, including some notable successes. A local director successfully funded a documentary in which he took his baby boomer parents to Burning Man, and the activists behind a political viral video raised $75,000 to put their ad on primetime TV. 

No gatekeeper, no judge, no restrictions in terms of industry or geography. It was that pitch that caught the attention of Vancouver-based super angel and Indiegogo investor Boris Wertz three years ago.


“Who would ever give people money over the Internet for their ideas? It was a little bit like how people talked about eBay,” says Wertz.