Donald Trump recently announced his foray into crowdfunding with the launch of his own crowdfunding platform, FundAnything, with partner Bill Zanker, founder of adult education company The Learning Annex.
FundAnything lets people create a campaign for any amount of money, collecting small contributions from large numbers of donors. Entrepreneurs may offer non-financial rewards in exchange for donations, but are not required to do so.
The site charges a nine percent fee on contributions as they’re collected — if the creator reaches his or her fundraising goal, four percent is returned, for a net fee of five percent.
For many using the site, the possibility of connecting with Trump is a major selling point. In its first weeks since launch, the New York-based platform has accumulated hundreds of campaigns in various categories — creative arts, causes, personal, and business ideas— with subcategories including art, non-profit, hopes and dreams, and pets.
The real-estate mogul has announced his intention to give away money to select campaigns on FundAnything each week, and to tweet about certain campaigns to his more than two million Twitter followers through @realDonaldTrump.
FundAnything features a section called “Trump’s Picks,” showcasing a handful of campaigns attracting Trump’s interest. Currently, these include an assault victim’s campaign to raise $4,000 for oxygen treatment, and musician Celeste Buckingham’s campaign for $100,000 to be used for her new CD and music videos — Trump has already awarded Buckingham a $25,000 jump-start.
“We have an advantage because we have Donald Trump,” Zanker, FundAnything’s chief executive, said in an interview. “By hooking up with Donald Trump and that enormous brand — he is the most recognized business man in the world — we’re educating people [about crowdfunding]…I think Donald Trump is giving them awareness. It’s kind of cool that once a week he picks a campaign he wants to support.”
Nineteen-year-old Brittany Spinks, a sophomore at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., made an appeal on the site after her mother watched a news report on the launch. Spinks decided to seek funds to transfer to her dream-school — New York University, to which she’s already been accepted. In addition to scholarships, work-study jobs and what her family can afford, Spinks hopes to raise $50,000 to cover two years of college. In return for contributions, the English major offers to proof-read short papers — so far, she’s raised $130. Spinks said she joined the site primarily to attract the attention of big names like Trump, and has been tweeting at his account hoping he’ll see her campaign or retweet it.
“It is also the only way I could think of to reach out to people who would be able to help me — Donald Trump and founders of FundAnything — with the amount of money needed to fulfill my dream,” she said, noting that she hopes to raise all funds before NYU’s May 30 enrollment deadline.
Spinks said she closely follows which campaigns Trump supports to better understand his interests. “I think they’re looking for originality…and someone with a lot of heart. I think I represent that.”
So far, Trump hasn’t selected her campaign, and has yet to respond via Twitter.
Trump isn’t the first celebrity to lend support to the practice of crowdfunding; Rob Thomas, writer of TV show Veronica Mars, raised more than $5 million with the help of actress Kristin Bell for a Veronica Mars movie on Kickstarter, and actor Zach Braff has raised more than $2 million for a new film also on Kickstarter.
But having big-name support doesn’t guarantee a campaign’s success — a D.C. filmmaking team recently hoped to crowdfund a documentary narrated by actor Matt Damon, but fell several thousand dollars short of their campaign goal on Kickstarter.
By 07:00 AM ET, 05/23/2013|
First look: BlueBulb’s iPhone-controlled LED bulb looks to kill light switches
After nearly nine months of research and development, bluetooth lighting startup BlueBulb is finally ready to ship a small batch of initial units to customers in a bid to bring remotely-controlled, multi-color lighting into the mainstream.
While mass production of BlueBulb may be months away, AppleInsider was able to spend some time with one of the first units to roll off the assembly line.
Not quite satisfied with plain white light, BlueBulb uses a unified RGB+White LED array, allowing for a wide variety of color outputs — one million in all according to founder and CEO Peter Lakits.
Color changing is a neat trick, but the real draw for many BlueBulb users is the promise of a simple to setup iOS-controlled light. Lakits noted that the iPhone is especially well suited for the task, as the handset rarely leaves a user’s side.
“It’s face-to-face communication,” Lakits told AppleInsider, explaining why the firm chose to go with the Bluetooth. “The phone is always with you, even in your bed.”
Remote control lighting was once a luxury reserved for pricey home automation systems, but BlueBulb promises to change that by building ad hoc wireless connectivity into every bulb, eschewing the need for a dedicated centralized backbone.
The build quality is remarkably stable and polished for an initial production run, though this is to be expected as BlueBulb has gone through thorough testing thanks to a hefty personal investment from Lakits. Constructed out of plastic, the unit is lightweight, but has a solid feel thanks to a large aluminum-alloy heat dissipator, which pulls double duty as a solid housing for the bulb’s internal Bluetooth communications components. Lakits said one of the goals with BlueBulb was to keep cost to a minimum while still offering high-tech features.
Like other wireless light bulbs, BlueBulb draws power from a standard light socket, which feeds the comm module and a unified RGB plus white LED array. Because the four LEDs are located in close proximity beneath a single glass seal, the separate RGB hues are more smoothly mixed, allowing for accurate color rendition.
Notably, BlueBulb carries a white LED which, when combined with the light from supporting RGB LEDs, can produce varying color temperatures to suit a user’s needs.
“You can soften or harden the whiteness,” Lakits said, referring to the gradients of white light offered by BlueBulb. “Sometimes I want a warmer light to relax, or maybe more blue for reading.”
Cooling fins run along the side of the bulb, dispersing heat to keep the internal components cool during operation, thus extending their life. In testing, especially when playing with the various color settings, the aluminum had a tendency to become hot to the touch, but the temperature of the plastic bulb covering never rose above nominal levels. In short, the heat sink does its job.
“We faced two major problems with [BlueBulb],” Lakits said, explaining why there will be only two variations of the device at launch. “One is the cooling problem, a 12 watt bulb was just too much.”
The second issue, also having to do with BlueBulb’s passive cooling system, was how to transmit a Bluetooth signal past the aluminum casing.
At launch, BlueBulb’s lineup will be limited to a 6-watt and a 9-watt bulb, each spec’d to 80 Lumens per watt. Our test unit was the latter. Both bulbs fit in common E27 sockets and have a design mirroring their incandescent cousins. Lakits said the company is working on other socket designs, including the GU10 bayonet mount traditionally used for halogen lighting.
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