From Alexander Pope to Grey Glasses: 400 hundred years of Crowdfunding

From 1715 to 1729, the well-known English poet, Alexander Pope, translated the Iliad into English. However, he faced a real problem: he did not have the resources to publish his work. He created a pre-sale model in which he asked people for contribute a certain amount of money to help him publish the first volume. These “investors” would receive a copy in exchange, and they would see their names in his initial greeting. Unconsciously, Pope had invented crowdfunding. 

From Vienna to New York 

The next known group financing case was Mozart. Although he is a globally known artist nowadays, this composer born in 1756 faced big economic challenges throughout his career. He had to ask his followers for help to perform three of his concerts in the Vienna concert hall. In return, he printed the name of his “sponsors” in the original manuscript.  

If we go / jump forward to the 19th century, we can find the best-known group financing case. In 1884, the journalist Joseph Pulitzer promoted a campaign to finance the hoisting of one of the most visited monuments in the current world: The Liberty Statue. In order to get the necessary $125,000, it was decided to sell the miniature reproductions of the statue with prices ranging from one to five dollars. 

Crowdfunding after the Internet 

These milestones are part of what we call “crowdfunding prehistory”. As in many economic fields, Internet marked the change of an era. Internet allowed the British rock band Marillion to finance their tour around the United States in 1996 thanks to their fans’ contributions. The amount of money collected was $60,000, and the group thanked all these followers in the album cover. This is the first modern crowdfunding case, although this term was not coined. 

The Marillion case inspired the ArtistShare company, which in 2000 became the first crowdfunding platform. Six years later, Michael Sullivan coined for the first time the term crowdfunding in an article. In 2008 we attended an unprecedented crowdfunding campaign: The Democratic candidate for the White House, Barack Obama. This milestone marked a boom in crowdfunding, triggering the emergence of multiple platforms. 

The Fellow Funders history 

Fellow Funders is an Equity Crowdfunding platform created in 2016.  We have therefore been in a world that has been around for four centuries. However, the many experiences we have had and projects we have financed would be enough to write our own history. 

From our first financed startup, Worktel, to the last one, Grey Glasses, there are more than thirty financing rounds in which we have taken part. The Equity Crowdfunding is a specific group financing model that adds participations to investors. However, these differences do not make us renounce the spirit of Pope, Mozart, Pulitzer, Marillion and Obama. All of them were able to see in crowdfunding the key to success for their projects. At Fellow Funders we also know that an alternative funding model is possible thanks to crowdfunding. 

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