Crowdfunding raised $1.5B last year — and is on track to double in 2012

Until Kickstarter started gaining attention for giving people a place to raise huge amounts of money very quickly, the term crowdfunding didn’t mean much. Now, crowdfunding has become a full-fledged industry, contributing $1.5 billion to new ventures in 2011. That total includes pledges from average people backing quirky projects like the Pebble smartwatch as well as seed funding for startups.

Gauge your personality by looking at pretty pictures

Tidepool has raised a $1.5 million seed round to determine personality traits from photos. You take an assessment on the company’s website, which involves rating photos to your liking and indicating what activities interest you. Once the assessment is complete Tidepool tells you what type of personality you have. The company claims its test is more accurate than ones that only use text.

DataSift scores new round to make sense of social data, plans move into startup city

DataSift, a social data platform that extracts large amounts of data from a number of online sources, raised $7.2 million in a first round of funding from existing investors IA Ventures and GRP Partners, the company announced today. The funding will aid in accelerating its growth with real-time and historic social data due to consumer demands.