hopes to fill funding gaps

Anyone seeking funding – whether they’re students, businesses, schools, nonprofits or neighbors – now has a platform to ask for help from the Northern Colorado community through a newly established website.

“We have invented a platform that has shape, but is limitless. It is adaptable to the user’s needs and offers the education and tools necessary to fund anything that is a good idea,´ said co-founder McCabe Callahan, who’s also the owner of both local Mugs coffee shops in Fort Collins.

The name of this “platform?”

Callahan discussed his hopes for the site in a recent interview with the Collegian.

Question: How would you sum up in a few sentences?

Answer: is a website designed to help people and organizations with projects find the ideas, funding and resources they need to be successful. Our platform connects the community and all of its resources to people with ideas.

Q: How will you judge its success?
A: Well, I would say for me personally, successfully funded projects that have positive impacts on communities would make me feel Community Funded is a success.

Q: Do you see this reaching outside of Fort Collins?
A: It will be impossible for it not to reach outside of Fort Collins. “Our Project” is the first project that hosted on the site. It aims to raise $1 billion in funding for projects by Dec. 12, 2012. This may seem ambitious, however, the numbers are pretty amazing. If one person pledges $10 to a project on the site and asks two people to do the same, and then those people follow suit, each asking two more people to do the same and so on, technically in 27 days 100,000,000 people will have pledged $1 billion. Now, this rate of growth has never been seen by any site. However, we have 11 months to accomplish our goal, and we hope the community is behind us. I applied to the Guinness Book of World Records for the record of “Fastest Billion Dollars Raised for Community Projects.” I hope they accept our nomination!

Q: What’s been the hardest part of putting together?
A: We are trying to create something the world has never seen, something that is completely amazing with no capitalization. We want to see if our sweat equity can build something that resonates with people so easily that it becomes wildly successful in its message alone. Each of us is working 50-plus hours a week on our day jobs while still trying to complete the website.

Q: Is there anything in particular about Fort Collins that you think will make successful?
A: Absolutely! Fort Collins is a melting pot of good ideas and innovation. We are so excited that out of all communities, we are able to launch here in our hometown. (The co-founders) and I are all CSU graduates, and each of us have businesses here in Fort Collins already. We could not have asked for a more perfect scenario.

Q: What need in the community is your organization filling?
A: We are providing a place for people to showcase ideas and find the resources they need to be successful. We are filling the need of giving people easier access to the power of their community by all of us sharing in the community. Our site will make the fundraising of organizations and people much easier by uniting the masses to collectively share what they have to offer. This website could not come at a better time as we can all agree now, more than ever, there is a better way to do things. Anything is possible when it is Community Funded.

Q: People are going through hard times financially. With that in mind, do you think people are still going to be able to participate in a platform that asks them to be financial donors and volunteers?
A: I think the point you make is exactly why we have created this site. Community Funded makes giving easier and more realistic for everyone. If someone knows that they can help a project creator do something really cool in their community for $10 or $20, it becomes much more manageable than feeling like you have to open your checkbook and write a big check. By offering a tool that can create mass participation, everyone only has to share in a little bit. As well, when you give, most projects will offer a “Gift-back” as an easy way to say, “Thanks for supporting my idea!” It is a win-win for everyone.

Q: How is Community Funded different from other organizations that are vaguely similar? comes to mind.
A: This is probably the most commonly asked question. The answer will be most obvious when we launch our full site in the end of February. However, the biggest difference is that we are not a platform just designed to simply raise money for projects. Rather, is a tool that provides communities the ability create larger impacts uniting around the core value of doing things better by sharing resources.

Q: How many people do you have ready to put their projects on the website?
A: We are trying to determine the perfect blend of projects and people for the full launch. At this point, we have pulled together around 25 potential projects. … We are fairly certain that the “viralness” we expect will lead to many new projects submissions.

Q: Where did you find these people?
A: As silly as it may sound, serendipity has been a theme throughout this project. Almost every connection to individuals and organizations with projects seems to have crossed our path at appropriate times throughout the development of this site. The Mugs Community has also offered a wide spectrum of people with creative ideas. I am sure there are so many communities in Fort Collins that will soon offer that many more projects.

Q: ?What makes you confident that (this concept will) take off?
A: ?We have witnessed other similar sites that already exist have huge impacts. However, each of these examples does not compare to the quality or functionality that Community Funded will boast. Our website is an evolutionary leap forward in how resources are shared in a community and intends to offer a unique and easy way to fund your “it”!

Q: What kind of preparation went into this idea?
A: Well, my friend Blue Hovatter and I got the idea in June of last year. We immediately invited our friend Ryan Stover, because we valued his creative genius. We spent the next three months developing the concept and building the amazing team we have today. Matt Price was added in the end of September and we began website development in October. Needless to say we have made tremendous progress in a short amount of time. What can I say? Big ideas motivate individuals. Hopefully a theme in our website.

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