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- Date Established
- San Francisco, CA
- Crowdfunding for both creative and charitable projects
- Both rewards and 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 as Kickstarter does
- Limited communication between campaigners and backers
- Backers don’t always get promised rewards
- Less site traffic than Kickstarter
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 creative projects.
Indiegogo’s flexibility gives the whole enterprise a bit more of a “wild west” cast than crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter (see our review) have. For one thing, 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.
Table of Contents
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
- Camera Gear
- Energy & Green Tech
- Fashion & Wearables
- Food & Beverages
- Health & Fitness
- Phones & Accessories
- Travel & Outdoors
- Other Innovative Products
- Creative Works
- Dance & Theater
- Podcasts, Blogs, & Vlogs
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Web Series & TV Shows
- Writing & Publishing
- Other Creations
- Community Projects
- Animal Rights
- Human Rights
- Local Businesses
- Other Community Projects
Additionally, Indiegogo now offers something called 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 had been offering a service called Marketplace, an online store in which you sell your products. However, Indiegogo shut Marketplace down on April 3, 2019.
Indiegogo’s qualifications are intended to be non-exclusionary. Backers may not be thrilled about this, but campaigners love it.
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:||2.9% + $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.
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:
|Lender||Borrowing Amount||Loan Term Length||Interest Rate||Origination Fee?||Min Credit Score||Next Steps|
|$1K - $50K||3 or 5 years||8.16% – 27.99%||Yes||620||Apply Now|
|$2K - $35K||3 or 5 years||6.95% - 35.99% APR||Yes||640||Apply Now|
|$25K – $300K||3 – 7 years||0% -15% on first 9 – 15 months||Yes||680||Qualify Now|
As I said, Indiegogo places a greater emphasis on flexibility than other platforms — such as 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.
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 thoroughly 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 0.8 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 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.
Indiegogo doesn’t have the following that Kickstarter has, and that can be an issue when it comes to attracting backers. However, the platform 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 risks are 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: