With the launch of SellanApp this week, The Netherlands is becoming a hub of crowdfunding expertise in Europe. There is an interesting set of specialized players that can compete with the best known site Kickstarter in several fields. Whether you want to make a book (TenPages), an app (SellanApp), a game (Gambitious), a general company or project (Symbid), a movie (Cinecrowd) or a TV show (EU1) , there is a Dutch company helping you. In this article we explain some of the differences between the platforms and why you should invest.
In June this year I interviewed CEO Aernoud Dekker of SellanApp. Earlier this week their product was finally ready for the official launch: The SellanApp platform is open for anybody with a great app idea, and anyone who wants to back an app. My venture firm Otterloo Ventures became an investor in SellanApp in December 2011, so I have been able to follow the progress of the team for the past year. Aernout, Milan, Dylan and all other people involved have been working very hard at making not just a platform, but a great platform. Just a few weeks ago the team had to make decisions about the payments model. Sellanapp wants to be a true ‘investor’ platform where backers share in the profit. They also protect the rights of backers: you do not have to pay anything if the project is not fulfilled. In the words of Milan: “All or nothing is the way to go”.
Gambitious, Symbid, SellanApp and Tenpages are all better than the famous platform Kickstarter in one important aspect: they return money to backers. At Kickstarter you are called an investor (‘backer’) but you really are just buying a product. With these platforms you share in the success of the product you back. It has to be said that financially, you are likely to not gain any money. The return is a nice extra but you should back projects because you want to support them. Nevertheless it is nice to be appreciated as a backer.
Also launched recently was Gambitious, a special platform for computer games. Gambitious launched on September 25th. They use the same funding principles behing Symbid, the general purpose company platform. They already have three projects to back with lots of different budgets: from 20.000 euros to 350.000 euros. The last project seems to be a little to large for crowdfunding, but we will see what happens.
Not recently launched was Tenpages.com, since they have been publishing books since 2010 and have already funded 69 books. Their formula is quite tame: they only raise a small amount of money (€ 10.000) for each book to prove it has reader appeal, and then search for a traditional publisher. They only do Dutch books at the moment, both fiction and non-fiction. Next week one of their books, Je ziet er hardstikke goed uit (“You look really well”) is officially published. It is a comic book on breast cancer written and drawn by breast cancer survivor Annabel Bolck. Books like these make me happy that we have crowdfunding: Crowdfunding is not a way to make money, but a way to support worthwhile cause and help people realize their projects. The book is already on Bol.com as ebook and the real book should follow on October 16th. Let’s hope Annabel and all future creators have lots of success with all their projects.