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Your Crowdfunding Cheat Sheet (Infographic) An overview of how companies are raising money with crowdfunding, what categories are hottest and what the future holds for this new and innovative finance tool.

By Catherine Clifford

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you are looking to raise money for your company -- or keep up at cocktail parties -- you should have a few facts about crowdfunding up your sleeve.

Crowdfunding is a way of raising money for a new venture by soliciting small donations from many people online. The biggest platforms in the industry are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. In the last five years, crowdfunding has grown from a tool for off-beat bands to raise money from fans for an album they can't afford to produce to a way for some really high tech inventors to get access to capital for their new, innovative startups.

Consider the Pebble watch. It's a customizable, digital wristband that tells time, runs apps and sinks with your smartphone. The founding team set out hoping to raise $100,000 and raised more than $10 million on Kickstarter.

Related: This Site Allows Celebrities to Crowdfund for Causes in Real Time

Clarity, a San Francisco entrepreneur-advisor matchmaking service, teamed up with Column Five Media to build the infographic below with a summary of what crowdfunding is, how quickly it has grown as an industry in recent years and some quick facts about the next generation of crowdfunding.

Your Crowdfunding Cheat Sheet (Infographic)

Catherine Clifford

Senior Entrepreneurship Writer at CNBC

Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.

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