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UIX Blog: Crowdfunding data shows patterns by industry

There are more ways than ever now for people to get help funding their projects. Legislation four years ago cleared the way for crowdfunding platforms to help connect those with a need to those who can chip in, and West Michigan is home to many of those connections.
There are more ways than ever now for people to get help funding their projects. Legislation four years ago cleared the way for crowdfunding platforms to help connect those with a need to those who can chip in, and West Michigan is home to many of those connections.
 
In going through Rapid Growth Media's coverage of different crowdfunded projects and crowdfunding platforms themselves, patterns start to develop in the data. It's a small sample size, of course, but the trends have implications on a larger scale.
 
The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012 laid the federal groundwork for crowdfunding regulation in 2012. The Michigan Invests Locally Exemption (MILE) did essentially the same at the state level. Since then, and even before, crowdfunding platforms started to become the preferred choice of finding investment for small business. Look at any social media feed today, and it's apparent crowdfunding is becoming more accessible to everyone.
 
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Shown in the data map, Kickstarter has dominated the spread of crowdfunding stories we've covered, landing campaigns for food service businesses, non-profits, retail outfits, and technology companies. It's the oldest of the platforms, and has had more time than the others to establish a presence, so this isn't surprising.
 
Indiegogo is the next most popular crowdfunding platform, in terms of our coverage. We found this platform was useful for restaurateurs and non-profit pursuits. Again, considering the sample size, this doesn't prove much.
 
There is a noticeable connection between Patronicity and other arts organizations in Grand Rapids--the UICA and Avenue for the Arts. Patronicity emphasizes impact on community, which matches the goals of our local artists.
 
Over time, as crowdfunding platforms become more specialized and prolific, we will definitely see more patterns develop. With CampusStarter, a crowdfunding platform that hosts college entrepreneurs, and Loquidity, a platform for real estate investing, we're starting to see this already. There could be a general trend of established projects going to Indiegogo for expansion, while more new projects and products are found to be rolled out through Kickstarter.
 
It's one thing to look at the trends of our coverage toward certain areas indicating popularity, but perhaps there is also value in knowing where our data is lacking. Maintaining data maps like these will help us refine and expand our coverage to hopefully discover new trends.

Urban Innovation Exchange highlights the people and projects transforming West Michigan through sustainable efforts. To see more UIX stories, you can check out the entire series here. Have thoughts or ideas about UIX? Contact UIX Grand Rapids Editor Matthew Russell at matthew@uixgrandrapids.com.
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