Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Crowdfunding craze is a gift for innovators

Singer Neil Young crowdfunded for his Pono device (Angela Weiss/Getty Images)
Singer Neil Young crowdfunded for his Pono device (Angela Weiss/Getty Images)

The phenomenon of crowdfunding hasn’t been around long, but it is growing fast, and the whole idea is to raise money from lots of like-minded people, via the internet.

There was a time when anyone with a new business idea, an invention they wanted to manufacture and sell or that kind of thing, had just one option.

They had to go around the city, talking to as many experts as possible, and hope they could convince one of them to give them the capital needed to start it up.

Today, when you can connect with countless strangers across the globe, it’s much easier!

Singer Neil Young used crowdfunding when he came up with an idea that could change how we listen to music.

The Canadian songwriter hates the tinny sound of MP3s and other modern files, so he and some friends came up with the Pono Player, a sleek-looking machine that plays music in all its hi-fidelity glory.

Realising how big it could be, he reckoned that even his megabucks wouldn’t keep it all going if it grew as big as he expected, so Neil crowdfunded.

He simply went online, told the world all about the Pono, and asked if anyone would like to make a small investment in the idea.

Before long, he had the millions of dollars needed to get it all up and running and, so far, the Pono is doing well.

The first major example of crowdfunding was back in 1997.

British rock group Marillion’s own USA fans funded a tour of America, with donations totalling $60,000, and with it all paid up front, the band couldn’t say no!

Marillion, in fact, were so impressed that they later asked the fans to crowdfund enough cash to pay for the recording of a new album.

It worked so well, they’ve recorded a whole clutch of LPs since that first one, with no record company cash required, truly a case of the fans getting what they want by investing.

Crowdfunding needn’t only involve people vowing to send money. It can also involve mail-order subscriptions or events put on to benefit good causes.

The main point is that nobody relies on the traditional big money organisations to fund things, and therefore they don’t take the ridiculous percentages that they used to.

Best of all, the very people who wanted a thing — be it a tour, a record, film, or anything you can think of — have a share in it.

Crowdfunding has almost become an industry all by itself these days, with many billions of pounds being invested and spent in this way.

There are even companies sprouting up who scour the internet for ideas that interest them, and then invest when crowdfunding is offered.

Funded by the people, for the people, with big firms prevented from taking the lion’s share of the profits — it almost sounds like something the Communists used to dream about!

Next time someone moans about the internet’s bad side, remind them that there are great things, too — not least crowdfunding!