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Indiegogo Review

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Date Established
2008
Location
San Francisco, CA

Pros

  • Crowdfunding for both creative & charitable projects
  • Both rewards & equity crowdfunding available
  • Can choose all-or-nothing or keep-it-all funding
  • No platform fee for charitable campaigns
  • Good customer support
  • Does not pre-screen campaigns like Kickstarter does

Cons

  • Limited communication between campaigns & backers
  • Backers don’t always get promised rewards
  • Less site traffic than Kickstarter

Overview

If there’s one characteristic that defines Indiegogo, it is flexibility. Launched in 2008 at the Sundance Film Festival as a crowdfunding platform for independent films — hence the name — Indiegogo has since broadened its reach and is now one of the leading crowdfunding platforms for both creative projects and charitable causes. In addition to offering “traditional” crowdfunding, Indiegogo also offers equity crowdfunding through a partnership with MicroVentures.

Indiegogo’s flexibility gives the whole enterprise a bit more of a “wild west” cast than such platforms as Kickstarter (see our review). Indiegogo is available to creators and backers from just about every nation on Earth. Another unique feature of Indiegogo is that upon launching a funding campaign, you have the option of setting up either an all-or-nothing campaign (where your fundraising goal must be met before any funds are transferred) or a flexible campaign where you keep whatever funds you raise. Furthermore, while you can offer rewards (referred to by Indiegogo as “perks”) to your backers, you aren’t required to do so. Combine that with a comparatively broad array of project categories that qualify for Indiegogo approval, and you’ve got a crowdfunding platform with wide reach and appeal. Of course, the flip side of this flexibility is that shadier campaigns have a better chance of slipping through the cracks on Indiegogo than they would on more restrictive crowdfunding platforms.

Read on to get a full picture of Indiegogo.

Services Offered

Indiegogo is a crowdfunding platform in which users can raise funds from individual backers for creative projects, as well as launch equity crowdfunding ventures for their business projects. When launching a fundraising campaign, they can choose from between the following categories:

  • Tech & Innovation
    • Audio
    • Camera Gear
    • Energy & Green Tech
    • Fashion & Wearables
    • Food & Beverages
    • Health & Fitness
    • Home
    • Phones & Accessories
    • Productivity
    • Transportation
    • Travel & Outdoors
    • Other Innovative Products
  • Creative Works
    • Art
    • Comics
    • Dance & Theater
    • Film
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Podcasts, Blogs & Vlogs
    • Tabletop Games
    • Video Games
    • Web Series & TV Shows
    • Writing & Publishing
    • Other Creations
  • Community Projects
    • Animal Rights
    • Culture
    • Education
    • Environment
    • Human Rights
    • Local Businesses
    • Spirituality
    • Wellness
    • Other Community Projects

Let’s also discuss Indiegogo’s equity crowdfunding. It may not be what comes to mind for most people when they think of Indiegogo, but with equity crowdfunding, your backers are actual investors purchasing a stake in your venture. You can raise up to $1,000,000, but unlike with Indiegogo’s other funding options, only companies incorporated in the U.S. can use First Democracy VC. And though you will be cutting your investors in on the action, you get to maintain company control.

Another service Indiegogo now offers is InDemand. InDemand is a service you enroll in after you complete your initial rewards crowdfunding campaign, whether your campaign was on Indiegogo or another website. With InDemand, you continue raising money for an indefinite period — and without fixed fundraising goals — after your initial campaign closes. If your initial campaign was an Indiegogo campaign, your original fundraising page is left up and used as a validating factor for your project.

Lastly, Indiegogo offers a service called Marketplace, which is an online store in which you sell your products. As it is eCommerce, not crowdfunding, it’s not the focus of my review of Indiegogo’s crowdfunding system.

Project Qualifications

Indiegogo doesn’t really have a set list of qualifications a project must meet to be eligible. You do have to either be 18+ or between the ages of 13 and 17 with an 18+ guardian responsible for following the terms of use. Beyond that, you can’t raise money for a project that is illegal, harmful to others, or a scam. You also can’t offer prohibited perks, such as alcohol/drug paraphernalia, weapons, or any form of financial investment (this obviously doesn’t apply to equity crowdfunding campaigns). Pretty basic stuff. Indiegogo’s qualifications are intended to be non-exclusionary.

Terms & Fees

These are the terms and fees for Indiegogo’s crowdfunding campaigns:

Funding duration:Up to 60 days
Indiegogo fee for creative projects:5%
Indiegogo fee for InDemand campaigns:5%
Payment processing fee:3% + $0.30 per pledge

Indiegogo uses Stripe as its credit card payment processor. PayPal is no longer an option for payment. Keep in mind that if you’ve launched a Fixed crowdfunding campaign that doesn’t meet its fundraising goals, all contributions are refunded and therefore no fees are taken.

You’ll also notice that when you launch a charitable fundraising campaign through Indiegogo’s Generosity brand, Indiegogo waives the 5% fee on funds raised, thus making Indiegogo an excellent option for, say, crowdfunding to help pay for somebody’s medical expenses. Not sure it speaks well of our society that such campaigns are ever necessary, but it certainly speaks well of Indiegogo that they help facilitate such campaigns by waiving the fees.

With Indiegogo, you have the option of offering perks to your contributors, but you’re not required to do so. Indiegogo recommends that you do offer perks, though, as it increases the likelihood of you meeting your funding goals. They estimate that campaigns offering perks raise 143% more money than those that don’t. You can offer up to 20 levels of perks to your contributors based on the amount they contribute to your campaign.

Keep in mind that while your Indiegogo campaign can run for up to 60 days, Indiegogo advises that a funding period of 30-40 days is optimal for success, according to the company’s data.

Other start-up business funding options if your Indiegogo campaign falls through:

LenderBorrowing AmountLoan Term LengthInterest RateOrigination Fee?Min Credit ScoreNext Steps

$1K - $50K3 or 5 years8.16% – 27.99%Yes620Apply Now

$2K - $25K24 - 48 months15.49% - 30%0% - 6%600Apply Now

$2K - $35K3 or 5 years6.95% - 35.99% APRYes640Apply Now

$25K – $300K3 – 7 years0% -15% on first 9 – 15 monthsYes680Qualify Now

Application Process

As I said, Indiegogo places a greater emphasis on flexibility than other platforms — like Kickstarter — do. When you fill out the application and apply to start your campaign, approval is automatic — you won’t have to wait to be approved. In fact, there are cases of crowdfunding projects that were suspended from Kickstarter and which subsequently took their campaigns to Indiegogo, where their campaign was allowed to run to completion.

Note that this does not apply to Indiegogo’s equity crowdfunding campaigns. When actual investing is involved, the rules are necessarily more stringent. Consult Indiegogo before trying to launch to get a feel as to whether equity crowdfunding is right for your venture.

Sales & Advertising Transparency

Crowdfunding platforms typically aren’t heavy on the sales-y deceptive crap, and Indiegogo is no exception. Everything is spelled out quite reasonably and there are no nasty surprises for project creators. For backers, it’s a different story, but that’s part of having a flexible crowdfunding platform.

Customer Service & Technical Support

Indiegogo’s customer service is well-regarded by crowdfunding standards. There’s an extensive help section, and if your question isn’t answered in the information given, there’s a contact form you can use to get in touch with Indiegogo. Surveying the opinion landscape, Indiegogo’s responsiveness to user concerns seems to be above average for the industry.

Negative Reviews & Complaints

Indiegogo is, by design, a loosely-regulated crowdfunding arena, intended to give the widest possible range of creative and charitable causes the ability to attract funding from a community of backers. However, this entails a great deal of caveat emptor for backers. Indiegogo currently earns a grim 1.2 out of 10 average user rating on Trustpilot, and a great majority of these complaints come from miffed backers. People find themselves backing lots of projects that never come to fruition, that do not distribute the promised perks, or that distribute defective/deficient perks. Users also fault the limited communication Indiegogo facilitates between campaigners and backers.

If you’re backing a project on Indiegogo, you have to go into it with a certain mindset. You’re not necessarily making a purchase or an investment, but rather are contributing to a project or cause you’d like to see succeed, with no guarantee that you’ll see anything in return. A more controlled crowdfunding platform might provide better value to the backer, but it could also cut against Indiegogo’s ethos of providing the broadest possible opportunity to the widest range of campaigners.

Positive Reviews & Testimonials

Professional reviewers are largely positive about Indiegogo, praising the ease with which one can set up a crowdfunding campaign and the wide variety of projects and causes that qualify for funding. The fact that you can set up a campaign as either fixed (all-or-nothing) or flexible (keep-whatever-you-raise) also comes in for plaudits.

Users have found plenty to applaud about Indiegogo as well, citing good customer service, a good interface, and the option to use flexible funding. Others noted that they were able to use Indiegogo after their projects were rejected by Kickstarter.

Final Verdict

Indiegogo may not be the elite of the incipient crowdfunding industry, but it makes a strong play for being the crowdfunder for the rest of us, so to speak. Certain kinds of expertly-conceived projects may be better off going with another crowdfunding platform, but for projects and causes that might have a hard time qualifying for funding on other sites, Indiegogo is a solid choice. It provides the opportunity to solicit funding from the widest possible range of folks from all over the globe. Given that the raison d’etre of crowdfunding sites is supposed to be their democratizing ability to funnel money to people and causes shut out of traditional funding means, it’s hard not to admire Indiegogo.

Backers may be taking a risk by sinking their hard-earned cash into an Indiegogo campaign, but risk is inherent in Indiegogo’s open-armed approach. Despite its flaws, Indiegogo is a credit to the spirit of crowdfunding.

Other start-up business loan options:

LenderBorrowing AmountLoan Term LengthInterest RateOrigination Fee?Min Credit ScoreNext Steps

$1K - $50K3 or 5 years8.16% – 27.99%Yes620Apply Now

$2K - $25K24 - 48 months15.49% - 30%0% - 6%600Apply Now

$2K - $35K3 or 5 years6.95% - 35.99% APRYes640Apply Now

$25K – $300K3 – 7 years0% -15% on first 9 – 15 monthsYes680Qualify Now
Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is a writer and cereal chef from San Diego. He graduated with a Political Science degree from San Diego State University in 2001. He's been writing about website builders, crowdfunding sites, online lenders, and credit cards for Merchant Maverick since 2015. Additionally, Jason can't eat raisins.
Jason Vissers
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