Sochi 2014: Crowdfunding fuels Olympic dreams

Sport-focused sites help athletes with talent and expensive dreams but slim budgets.

By:        Staff Reporter,              Published on Fri Jan 31 2014  
Canadian skier Larissa Yurkiw during a training session in Val d'Isere, France. She has used crowdfunding platform Pursu.it to help finance her training for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Canadian skier Larissa Yurkiw during a training session in Val d’Isere, France. She has used crowdfunding platform Pursu.it to help finance her training for the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Alpine skier Larissa Yurkiw knows the cost of pursuing an Olympic dream. Two months before the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, she suffered a crash that sidelined her for those games and forced her to spend two more years rehabbing.

But after paying the physical and emotional toll of overcoming serious injury, the 25-year-old athlete learned that the financial cost of becoming an Olympian is even steeper. Earning a spot in Sochi meant paying $20,000 in national team fees, and Yurkiw didn’t have quick access to that much cash.

Instead, she had a network of willing supporters, a compelling back-story and a web platform that allowed her to monetize both. Using the Canadian sport-focused fundraising site Pursu.it, Yurkiw surpassed her goal, raising $22,476 on contributions from more than 2,300 fans.

She also became one of a growing number of athletes competing in Sochi who crowdfunded their way to the games.

Eight Canadian Olympians used Pusu.it to fund their campaigns, while six more covered costs with help from Montreal-based Make a Champ. And when the Jamaican bobsled team learned earlier this month they had qualified for a spot in Sochi, several crowdfunding campaigns instantly materialized, raising more than $180,000 toward their expenses.

As crowdfunding has grown more common, sport-specific platforms have emerged to help fill a financial gap for aspiring Olympic athletes who are serious enough to incur hefty training expenses but often lack the profile and sponsorship income to defray them.

“When athletes are moving away from the Bank of Mom and Dad and into the real world, that’s when they need the most support,” says Pursu.it co-founder Julia Rivard. “We want to connect Canadian fans to really, really fantastic high-performance athletes with a dream.”

Rivard, a former Olympic kayaker, and business partner Leah Skelly, a former gymnast, run tech development firm Norex Web Strategy, where they give employees a day each week to create their own initiatives. Shortly after the London Olympics, an employee proposed a sports-based crowdfunding site, and by October 2012, the not-for-profit Pusu.it was online.

Make a Champ was also co-founded by an athlete. Two years ago, Canadian judo competitor David Ancor returned to Montreal from the World Junior Championships with a torn knee ligament and a $4,000 invoice from Judo Canada for the trip to the competition. A brainstorming session aimed at paying the bill led to the creation of the crowdfunding site, which launched in September 2012.

“We realized a lot of athletes were going through the same issue: trying to build a website (to) get them money,” Ancor says. “We needed to fix the problem not just for myself, but for everybody else.”

Depending on the platform, athletes keep between 85 and 90 per cent of the cash raised through crowdfunding sites in general.

At the end of their campaigns, Pursu.it athletes pay a five per cent fee to a payment processing company, 10 per cent to Pursu.it and keep the remainder. Fees for athletes raising funds through Make a Champ total 12.5 per cent of the campaign goal, Ancor says.

Not every athlete who applies is accepted, and not every campaign reaches its goal in the allotted time. The 35 campaigns listed on Pursu.it’s web site come from among 400 athletes and teams who have contacted the company. Rivard says individual athletes tend to raise funds more successfully than teams, because the campaigns feel more personal.

People who support an athlete’s campaign receive rewards from the athlete that correspond with the size of their donation. The 16 fans who donated $250 received a toque Yurkiw crocheted herself, while the supporters who pledged $1,000 got mentorship sessions with the skier.

“If you can really structure a fantastic give-back, no-one will get tired of your campaign,” Rivard says.

The people behind both companies say the Sochi games will prompt a rapid expansion their programs, and of sports-based crowdfunding overall.

After Sochi, Rivard plans to bring Pursu.it to the U.S., and is already working with partners stateside to connect with U.S. Olympians in the two-year buildup to the 2016 summer games in Rio. Meanwhile, Make a Champ has branched out to non-Olympic sports.

Last week, Mississauga-based mixed martial arts fighter Albert Cheng launched his first crowdfunding campaign, hoping to raise the $2,000 he needs to prepare for an upcoming competition in Macau.

“It looks like it can be an amazing tool for amateur athletes and pro athletes who are struggling with some money issue,” says Cheng, a graduate of Queen’s University. “It’s a good way to promote yourself and build your brand at the same time.”

Along with money and notoriety, Ancor says crowdfunding campaigns provide athletes with another essential ingredient for success.


“It’s the emotional and moral support you get from 100 people taking money from their pocket and giving it to you,” he says. “You’re so pumped and motivated to see that other people want you to succeed.”

Source : http://www.thestar.com/business/2014/01/31/sochi_2014_crowdfunding_fuels_olympic_dreams.html


Katipult, white-label crowdfunding software waives all setup fees in holiday promotion!

Thursday, 16 January 2014 18:01 Reports about comments’ content 0 Comments

Katipult, crowdfunding software has waived their setup fees until Feb 1st 2014. Change the world with Katipult!

              BANGKOK, BANGKOK, THAILAND, January 15, 2014 /EINPresswire.com/ — Katipult, a white-label crowdfunding software provider,  is making available its donations and rewards based crowdfunding software for no setup cost until February 1st, 2014. The proprietary software allows organizations to leverage the power of crowdfunding for their fundraising efforts, while maintaining corporate brand and messaging.

Organizations from across the globe have taken advantage of the white-label solution since 2012 with many experiencing massive success. InvestYYC, a legacy platform of Calgary 2012 created with the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and ATB Financial, launched in late 2012 and is now administered by Calgary Arts Development.

In a city dominated by Oil and Gas, platforms like InvestYYC have proven that with passion and the right tools, anything is possible. Emiko Muraki, Director of Impact & Engagement at Calgary Arts Development states, “InvestYYC has provided Calgary-based artists and arts organizations a tool to raise funds, find volunteers and develop a tribe of supporters.” Commenting on the success of InvestYYC, Emiko says “ To date, the platform has raised over $650,000 in support of 45 local artistic projects and arts-specific flood recovery efforts. More importantly, the site has attracted close to 2000 donors who now have a direct and personal connection with arts projects they are passionate about.”

Crowdfunding is the raising of funds through the collection of small contributions from the general public (known as the crowd) using the Internet and social media.  Crowdfunding has its origins in the concept of crowdsourcing, which is the broader concept of an individual reaching a goal by receiving and leveraging small contributions from many parties.

“We developed Katipult in response to a profound need for organizations to bring like-minded people together, effectively raise funds all while providing project administrators with the tools for maximum reach. Platform owners are utilizing our software to really make a difference in their communities. Our objective is to work with community leaders and help to positively impact as many people as possible.” – Hafiz Mitha, Katipult co-founder and COO. 

A product of JOI Media, based in Calgary AB Canada, Katipult is a global leader in providing a white-label crowdfunding solution. Katipult is a founding sponsor of the National Crowdfunding Association of Canada, Canada’s crowdfunding advocate.

Contact Katipult Hafiz Mitha, COO
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it 

Hafiz Mitha JOI Media Inc. 403-457-8008

Source : http://www.international.to/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29523:katipult-white-label-crowdfunding-software-waives-all-setup-fees-in-holiday-promotion&catid=321:ein-presswire&Itemid=469


Equity Crowdfunding is Legal in Saskatchewan

December 13, 2013 @ 11:04 am By

As of last week, equity crowdfunding is legal in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.  The Financial and Consumer Affairs Athority (FCAA) is now allowing small businesses and startups to offer equity to residents via the Saskatchewan Equity Crowdfunding Exemption (SECE).

Canada 5 Dollars HockeyThe FCAA justified their decision as a recognition to the previous difficulties for small businesses to raise capital to finance their company.  The rules for selling securities like shares, limited partnership units and promissory notes have been expensive, complicated, and time consuming for small businesses or start-ups to use.

The FCAA firmly believes the Exemption will help small businesses and start-ups raise a defined amount of money in an efficient and cost effective way.  The agency continues to address investor protection by limiting the amount of money individuals can risk in a single investment.  Since equity crowdfunding is broadly recognized as a high risk investment the regulators believe the limits should mitigate the risk to individual investors.

FCAA SaskatchewanThe overview of the Exemption is as follows:

  • Both the business and the investor must be located in Saskatchewan
  • Businesses can make two, six-month offerings of $150,000 each over the course of a year.
  • No person may invest more than $1,500 in an offering.
  • The business cannot be a reporting issuer or an investment fund and cannot offer derivative type securities.
  • Businesses must give FCAA notice of their intention to issue an offering 10 business days before posting online.
  • The business cannot charge investors a commission or other amounts.
  • The business must report their sales to FCAA within 30 days of the offering’s close.
  • There are no fees payable to the FCAA for the offering.

This initiative is part of the  government’s Plan for Growth: Vision 2020 and Beyond.  The government has  highlighted the importance of helping Saskatchewan small businesses and start-ups meet the challenges of growth.

In a quote from Gordon Wyant, Minister responsible for the FCAA,  he acknowledged the compelling need to remove red tape and barriers for businesses in raising funds,

“Small businesses play a central role in our economy,” Minister responsible for FCAA Gordon Wyant said. “Our government’s goal is to make sure that Saskatchewan continues to be one of the best places in Canada to start and grow a small business through competitive taxes, a continued reduction of red tape, measures to address the province’s labour shortage, and now through an additional source of funding.”

Dave WildFCAA Chair and CEO Dave Wild declared that equity crowdfunding will help fill the void in funding for small businesses,

“We know that the current rules for selling a stake in a company can be expensive, complicated and time consuming for small businesses or start-ups,” FCAA Chair and CEO Dave Wild said. “Equity crowdfunding will help fill the fundraising gap for these businesses so that they can compete in our market. This is also an opportunity for Saskatchewan people to invest in Saskatchewan businesses – it’s a unique opportunity to help grow our provincial economy.”

The FCAA has published a series of documents on their site explaining equity crowdfunding for the province.

Source : http://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2013/12/28337-equity-crowdfunding-legal-saskatchewan/


OSC puts crowdfunding on agenda for new year

Financial Post | Business

Canada’s biggest capital markets regulator is preparing rules that would allow equity crowdfunding for the first time, something early-stage companies have been clamouring for as a cheaper alternative to IPOs.

A proposed prospectus exemption to allow crowdfunding will be published by the Ontario Securities Commission in the first quarter of next year, with an accompanying “registration framework” for online funding portals, the regulator said Wednesday.

It will be subject to a 90-day comment period from interested market participants, so it won’t immediately allow crowdfunding, where small contributions from a large number of investors are pooled in exchange for securities. Nevertheless, it is the clearest sign since the OSC began mulling crowdfunding in late 2012 that a regulatory framework to support this method of raising capital will be created in Canada.

“I do think the OSC is definitely going to move forward with some form of crowdfunding and is taking it…

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Equity Crowdfunding in Canada: An Infographic


Given the recent buzz regarding crowdfunding platforms, and perhaps more specifically equity crowdfunding, we’re glad BoardSuite  has pulled together this infographic showing us how equity crowdfunding is impacting entrepreneurs and investors across the county.

Now, if you’re a #SK Entrepreneur looking at this right now… trying to make sense of it all… perhaps simply trying to figure out the difference between equity and rewards based crowdfunding models… you’re not alone. Check out Let’s Talk: Crowdfunding   bootcamps being presented by the National Crowd Funding Association of Canada’s very own SK Ambassador, Suzanne Paschall from Indie Ink Publishing. Next one coming up in YQR on Nov 29th.

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