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How to Raise Cash With Crowdfunding

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This story appears in the March 2012 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
Crowdfunding sites are putting money in the pockets of budding entrepreneurs like Sam Miller and Leona Liu, founders of jeans company Civali.
Crowdfunding sites are putting money in the pockets of budding entrepreneurs like Sam Miller and Leona Liu, founders of jeans company Civali.
Photography by Tom McKenzie

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo attract hobbyists and wannabes, but they can also net real cash for those who use them strategically. With savvy profiles and targeted campaigns, some aspiring entrepreneurs are even raising amounts in the five or six figures. Here's how they do it.

Sam Miller was so sick of not being able to find jeans that fit that he decided to start a business to solve the problem. He and his partner, Leona Liu, spent nearly two years studying how they could create a company that would deliver custom-made, U.S.-manufactured jeans at a $60 price point. They sketched out a plan for Chicago-based Civali, sourced the technology they needed and then ran into a common entrepreneurial problem: no money. At the same time, they had no interest in having "investors breathing down our back," Miller says.

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