Unusual Places to Look for Funding Online

Guest Writer
Owner of Make a Living Writing
min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
funding-online.jpgIf you've given up on getting a bank loan, there are a few offbeat funding options floating around the internet these days. I found three recently that don't offer huge sums, but might be able to give a new business a kick-start.

One of them is called exactly that: Kickstarter. The site began just a few months ago with a focus on helping artists fund their work, but has been developing into a possible small-business funding vehicle, the New York Times' blog recently reported. The site works a bit like the peer-lending sites such as Prosper.com and Zopa.com--the business owner posts about how much money they're looking for, site visitors pledge small amounts toward the funding needed, and then the loan only funds if the business gets that much in pledges. The big plus: It's a grant, not a loan, and the funds don't need to be repaid.

Artists have offered incentives such as free CDs in exchange for the pledges, while businesses might offer free products or other perks. The site charges a 5 percent fee for successfully completed funding. One catch: Businesses need an "invite" from Kickstarter (look on Twitter, where many are being passed out) in order to post a project proposal on the site for possible funding.

If you don't think your business would be a hit with Kickstarter's art-patron crowd, you think a small amount of money would get your business going, and you do business in an economically depressed area, you might try Kiva. The charity portal connects donors with struggling businesspeople in economically depressed countries who need small loans to grow their business.

The site began in 2005 with a focus on helping entrepreneurs in underdeveloped nations. But in August, Kiva expanded its mission to include U.S.-based businesses, too. If you operate in an economically distressed region of the country or could be classified as "working poor" and are thinking of starting a business, Kiva might be able to help you cobble together a small loan online from its many donors.

Finally, if you think you've got a brilliant concept, you might try Ideablob's monthly business idea contest. The most popular idea with site viewers each month gets $10,000.

Have you noticed any other unusual places to raise money online? If so add them in a post below.

More from Entrepreneur

Get heaping discounts to books you love delivered straight to your inbox. We’ll feature a different book each week and share exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Jumpstart Your Business. Entrepreneur Insider is your all-access pass to the skills, experts, and network you need to get your business off the ground—or take it to the next level.
Entrepreneur Store scours the web for the newest software, gadgets & web services. Explore our giveaways, bundles, "Pay What You Want" deals & more.

Latest on Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur Media, Inc. values your privacy. In order to understand how people use our site generally, and to create more valuable experiences for you, we may collect data about your use of this site (both directly and through our partners). By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the use of that data. For more information on our data policies, please visit our Privacy Policy.