Steve Larter (Image supplied)
Steve Larter, founder of FundFind.co.za, recognised a need for a South African specific crowdfunding platform when attempting to generate funds through overseas crowdfunding platforms.
Speaking to HumanIPO Larter, who is a “proverbial struggling actor” and “a bunch of other things in the film industry”, said when he attempted to raise funds for local film projects through US-based crowdfunding platforms, South Africans were put off by the idea of having to pay in dollars.
“I found it extremely difficult to get South Africans to buy into the idea that they’re contributing towards a South African project, but they’re giving in dollars,” Larter said.
“I think South Africans get a bit nervous if they see a dollar sign or a pound sign. They feel much more comfortable giving in rands.”
Given the above, Larter decided it would be best to start a similar crowdfunding platform in the country.
“I got the idea middle last year. Crowdfunding is basically a way for people to raise funds by asking a lot of people for small amounts instead of asking one person for a big amount,” said Larter.
FundFind is still under development and Larter hopes to launch it either at the end of this month or early next month
The funders are rewarded by receiving a product or recognition for their contribution.
Using a film project as an example, Larter said: “I want to make a film and use FundFind to raise the funds then I basically give people rewards according to how much money they give”.
“So for ZAR10 (US$1.09) I could say you’ll get a thank you credit in the credit list. If they give ZAR100 (US$10.87) they’ll get a download of the film as well as a ticket to the premier. Obviously the rewards get bigger the more money gets given.
“People underestimate how much you can do with a crowd of people. They don’t realise that small contributions can add up to a large amount or whatever. It is a lot easier to ask someone for ZAR10 than it is to ask someone for ZAR20,000 (US$2,173).”
Larter found one of the biggest challenges in setting FundFind up was communicating with his web-developer, who is in the US, due to time zone differences.
“The reason I got the guy from overseas and not a South African guy [is because] I did a bit of research last year when I was starting out and he was one of the guys that worked on Kickstarter.com, which is the biggest crowdfunding platform in the world.
“So I decided to use him because he has a lot of experience and knows how everything works,” said Larter.
Larter said FindFind is versatile in terms of the projects that are permitted to be uploaded so long as the project has a beginning and an end.
In other words Larter said that someone looking for funding for their retirement fund or the like does not constitute as a project and thus will not be approved for FundFind.
Larter is currently based in Pretoria and has been involved with a few film projects, which include a small role on Angus Buchan’s “Ordinary People,” and has also played minor roles for local soap operas, namely 7de Laan, Binnelanders and Generations, “nothing to really write home about,” concluded Larter modestly.