In the first of a two part series, Nick NM Yap, Founder of smart, wireless music system ROCKI,  talks about why crowdfunding has hit a healthy level of maturity, leading us to the brink of a golden era. Nick is a guest speaker and co-host of a special workshop, Crowdfunding For Entrepreneurs at next month’s CSW Global in London.

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo these days are synonymous with product innovation. For many startup founders, it’s the go-to tool to launch their business idea, giving the idea-to-product process a good kickoff with market validation.

Crowdfunding Maturity

Product crowdfunding has matured over the past seven years (yes, it’s had that much time to age like a good wine). Most of the rapid advancement has been in the last three years. We are at the start of a golden period where enough knowledge and experience has accumulated that it’s no longer a “let’s launch and see” experiment of optimism; these days we can see a consistent stream of parade-horse type projectswith sophisticated prototypes, high quality video production, detailed project planning and well executed marketing. These crowdfunding campaigns are often scoring launch metrics that even established enterprise would be proud of.

Enterprise Crowdfunding

There’s my bridge from startup crowdfunding into enterprise crowdfunding. You might already have seen a couple of enterprise crowdfunding pioneers already. An early example was in 2008 LEGO launched its CUUSOO platform marking the company’s leap into crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing and open innovation policies can also be found at General Electric, Hasbro, Anheuser-Busch InBev and BMW. Yes, the metaphorical tap has been turned open.

Nick NM Yap Article | Golden Tap

The proverbial golden tap has been switched on

Enterprise, especially open innovation leaders, are beginning to see that well executed crowdfunding methodology is not so different from the internal ideation process, albeit with a twist of having an internal-external synergy with the crowd. That twist of interacting with the crowd during the ideation process already can scare many PR teams who have become used to carefully constructing a message. But hey, we’re here to innovate with change, are we not?

So let’s all equip ourselves with knowledge in the enterprise crowdfunding domain, as the initial trickle turns into a flow, a flood and a tsunami. Knowledge cures ignorance and fear – and that’s why Crowdsourcing Week creates a platform of conferences, workshops and courses. It starts with conversations and knowledge sharing.

The Crowd and Funding

Crowdfunding is crowd first, funding second. It’s now a widely accepted notion that the crowd element of crowdfunding creates more value than the funding aspect. The crowdfunding process of crowd input, engagement and activation creates a secret sauce that lifts the product / project with an x-factor. The stronger that crowd is activated, the better it is. That’s also why many startups who do not need the funding have launched crowdfunding. Likewise with enterprise.

In Part Two, I’ll be talking about why there is no cause without a crowd and why crowdfunding is crowd first, funding second.