CrowdRise, Ed Norton's Charitable Social Network, Raises $23 Million
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While his films have gone on to garner millions at the box office, Fight Club actor Edward Norton just scored a knockout punch of his own in the startup sphere.
CrowdRise, a website founded by Norton and three colleagues, which fuses social networking with charitable activism, has pocketed $23 million in its third round of fundraising.
The round was led by Fred Wilson and Union Square Ventures, which is notable as Wilson was an initial backer of crowdsourcing forerunner Kickstarter, reports TechCrunch.
Initially developed as a platform to raise money when Norton himself pledged to run the New York City Marathon in 2009 for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, CrowdRise’s seed round in 2011 attracted star investors such as Chris Sacca and Jack Dorsey.
In signing up, users create a profile page to raise money for either themselves or for charity. After setting fiscal goals, the site encourages members to reach out to potential donors via email, Facebook and Twitter, as well as to dole out fundraising incentives -- “dye your hair blue,” for instance.
Also aimed to rally contributions -- and as a wink at the ‘Like’ culture ubiquitous on Facebook today -- is the company’s slogan, IYDGBNOWLY, which stands for “If you don’t give back, no one will like you.”
As part of its social component, users traffic in CIPs, or CrowdRise Impact Points. For every $1 that they raise or donate, members receive 10 CIPS, which they can then redeem for CrowdRise-branded merchandise (50,000 points for a hoodie) or even a feature spot on the site’s homepage (150,000 points.)
The for-profit company charges fees of one percent for users raising money for personal use (medical expenses or volunteer trips, for example), and fees of between three and five percent for users raising money for charity.