Entrepreneur

Crowdtilt cuts the crap out of crowdfunding

The YC Founders' Hoodie, an item sold through a Sell Something campaign on Crowdtilt.

Above: The YC Founders' Hoodie, an item sold through a Sell Something campaign on Crowdtilt.

Image Credit: Crowdtilt

No fancy videos, no reward tiers, no long-winded copy: “Sell Something” campaigns are all about one simple product and a single preorder price.

Crowdtilt’s latest product is a stripped down, no-bulls*** version of crowdfunding. The crowdfunding startup today launched Sell Something, which enables folks to presell just about anything online: clothing, books, tickets, or anything else (that’s legal, of course).

“This is crowdfunding distilled into its simplest form,” Crowdtilt CEO James Beshara told VentureBeat.

“It’s a very small [user interface] change, but it’s been something that’s been requested since we were about five hours old.”

It has a few new options for folks who simply want to “Sell Something” rather than run a more traditional Crowdtilt campaign: Campaign creators can collect shipping addresses, set minimum and maximum allotments for products, and offer preferences for product sizes and style. It also has a new dashboard that enables sellers to keep track of campaign stats and communicate with specific contributors (if someone needs a refund, for example).

“People are using this feature to make money, so the more visibility they have, the better,” said Beshara.

Sell Something campaigns on Crowdtilt.

Above: Sell Something campaigns on Crowdtilt.

Image Credit: Crowdtilt

Setting up a Sell Something campaign requires far less effort than a typical crowdfunding effort. Within “literally 30 seconds, you can start collecting payments from around the world,” promised Beshara.

To encourage early use of the tool, Crowdtilt is making Sell Something completely free to use for a “limited time” (it’s unclear how long this period will last). The startup’s not taking its regular 2.5 percent commission, and it’s even ditching the 5 percent in credit card processing fees.

Crowdtilt’s fraud prevention efforts for Sell Something resemble its practices for other crowdfunding campaigns: It has an algorithm that ferrets out shady parties, and it also manually reviews each campaign before the money is transferred to the creator. Like most other crowdfunding platforms, Crowdtilt won’t guarantee order shipping and fulfillment, but Beshara said the company “takes fraud extremely seriously” and that it’s seen “infinitesimal fraud to date after two years in the wild.”

Crowdtilt has been operational since 2012. It separates itself from crowdfunding competitors by embracing openness: It doesn’t editorially curate projects, unlike Kickstarter (and to a lesser extent, Indiegogo). It also has an open-source tool and facilitates Bitcoin payments.

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