DEMO: Invested.in helps entrepreneurs turn social capital into real funding

Invested.in is one of 65 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Spring 2010 event taking place this week. These companies do pay a fee to present, but our coverage of them remains objective.Invested.in hopes to make the hardest part of starting a business a little easier.

It’s a funding platform that lets people promote their ideas to friends and connections via social media in an attempt to collect funding for a project. Users first describe a project in detail, set a funding goal, and describe the potential returns. They can then promote the project using existing social networks like Facebook and Twitter. People interested in investing, can pay into the fund with a credit card (although the investor is free to withdraw those funds at any time before the full funding goal is reached). Once the goal is reached, the investee is free to take the accumulated funds and begin the project.

The caveat is that, because Invested.in isn’t a bank, the company urges investees to be creative with their returns — that is, they suggest paying investers back with products, services or special offers. So this seems to be a model that’s better designed for socially-oriented or artistic ideas. One example, pictured below, asks for funding to back a feature-length film about a gay actor and activist who meet and explore the fickle nature of fame and its ties to the gay community. The writer and director, Rob Williams, pledges a copy of the DVD and a special thank you for people who give at least $20 to the effort.

The site tries to maintain some freedom for potential investors or donors. People who give or invest can take out their money at any time before a project is finished and transfer it to another effort.

The company is privately funded and is looking to close a first venture-backed round soon.


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