Recently, more and more Singaporeans have been turning to crowdfunding to foot their medical bills*. (We’re not sure if this was the government’s idea of self-reliance when they conceptualised our no-free-lunch, every-man-for-himself social welfare (or lack of) system.)
So, crowdfunding in Singapore is now a legit way to get funding for a variety of purposes—whether you’re looking to collect startup capital for your new business or trying to fund an artistic project, it pays to know which crowdfunding platforms to use. Here’s a list of crowdfunding platforms that are available in Singapore.
Kickstarter: for tech or creative projects
This is the big daddy of crowdfunding websites. Due to its size and reputation, Kickstarter gets a lot of eyeballs. However, it is also quite saturated, so projects tend to either make it big or totally fail.
Launching a Kickstarter campaign does, however, require planning and market knowhow. You need to aim for the stars due to their all-or-nothing system—if you don’t manage to raise the full sum, you get nothing.
Funding successfully raised on Kickstarter is offered on a non-equity basis, which means that if you’re trying to develop a mobile app, you won’t need to cede shares in exchange for the funds.
Other than digital apps, projects that tend to be popular on Kickstarter include analogue and digital games, and documentaries.
Indiegogo: for tech or creative projects
This is another extremely popular crowdfunding platform. One advantage Indiegogo has over Kickstarter is that you can choose between their all-or-nothing option, and keep-what-you-earn.
The keep-what-you-earn approach might sound ideal at first glance, but don’t forget that you will need to see the project through to completion no matter how little you’ve raised if you pick that option.
The potential clientele of both Kickstarter and Indiegogo are somewhat similar, and the projects on Indiegogo tend to fall into the broad categories of tech or creative works.
Funding Societies: for small businesses
Funding Societies is a platform that facilitates peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, which means that investors can crowdfund business loans for SMEs in Singapore. The loans come with interest of about 8 to 14% p.a., which are then paid to the investors as returns.
Currently, Funding Societies is the largest and most well-funded P2P lending platform in Southeast Asia.
SMEs with good credit rating can secure business loans between $5,000 and $1.5 million through Funding Societies.
On the other hand, if you are looking to invest via Funding Societies, you can do so with as little as $20.
FundedHere: for start-ups
So, you don’t give a toss about art—you just want a crowdfunding platform that will fund your new startup, which will in turn hopefully make you rich.
Singapore-based FundedHere helps startups do just that. The platform matches startups with investors.
The main requirements are that your startup be a Singapore-incorporated entity that’s been in operation for at least 3 months and has a minimum paid-up capital of at least $50,000. At least one of the founders or beneficial owners must be Singaporean.
There are two options, equity or loan, so startups can decide just how much control they’re willing to cede in order to get their hands on that funding.
FundedHere is registered with MAS and is also one of the biggest crowdfunding platforms in Singapore, if that makes you feel any better.
Fundnel: for start-ups
Fundnel is another Singapore-based crowdfunding platform that aims to match up startups with investors. It is regulated by MAS.
Compared to FundedHere, Fundnel tends to be a better choice for bigger start-ups, or those that are at a slightly later stage in their life cycle.
LikeFundedHere, start-ups can choose between loans and equity.
If you’re interested in receiving funding through Fundnel, you’ll have to send them an application and pray that they accept you. They take about one to two weeks to screen candidates.
They are very stringent with the selection process, so if you get rejected once, you might want to try again at a later stage.
GoFundMe: for personal reasons
So, maybe you don’t have a dazzling start-up idea or a brilliant artistic project.
But something terrible happened to you or a loved one, and you’re now turning to crowdfunding as a last resort to pay medical bills, rebuild a home or promote world peace.
GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform you can turn to. The site is designed to help people fundraise for personal reasons. It’s free to use, although your success will depend on how moving your sob story is.
GoGetFunding: for personal reasons
GoGetFunding is a platform that works similarly to GoFundMe. You can easily choose to fund people or set up a fundraiser page. Currently, the fundraisers on the platform are trying to raise funds for the medical fees of sick family members or pets.
Crowdfunding Singapore regulations
As you can see, most of the international platforms above are not regulated in Singapore, nor do they need to be. FundedHere and Fundnel, on the other hand, are regulated by MAS. Why the difference?
Well, the types of funding that can be obtained thanks to these two sites are classified as “crowdlending” or “equity-based crowdfunding”. Unlike Kickstarter or Indiegogo projects, start-ups receiving funding from FundedHere or Fundnel are expected to either pay back the loan later on, or offer equity in exchange for the funding.
MAS considers such crowdfunding to be a type of lending that should be regulated under the Securities and Futures Act.
If you intend to seek this type of funding on any Singapore-based platform, you should first make sure they are licenced to operate in Singapore by MAS. If they are not, they are operating illegally, and could one day disappear when found out.
Have you ever contributed to a crowdfunding project? Share your experiences in the comments!
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