Type of site
As a doctoral student at Oxford University, Vincent developed a keen interest in the works of Muhammad Yunus, a pioneer of microfinance. Vincent saw in peer-to-peer microfinance a brilliant alternative to traditional methods for funding innovative ideas. The 2009 financial crisis and subsequent cuts to subsidies that hit the UK arts scene highlighted the need for an alternative, community-led way of raising funds for artists and innovators, prompting Vincent to launch Sponsume.
The site uses the power of social networks and the wisdom of crowds to help fund a variety of projects ranging from films and documentaries, to music, theatre, photography, fashion, technology, scientific research, green and social enterprise. As of 2012, Sponsume has helped crowd fund over 1000 campaigns.
Project owners choose a timeframe deadline and a target funding goal. They create non-monetary rewards generally linked to their project. The site levies a 4% fee for successful campaigns and collects 9% for campaigns that failed to reach their target amount.
Notable projects funded on Sponsume
- DigVentures – the world's first crowd funded and crowd sourced archeological dig.
- Dirty White Gold – a documentary about the plight of India's cotton farmers.
- Belarus Free Theatre – a campaign to help the exiled theatre set up a London office and fight for freedom of speech in Belarus. A number of artists, including actor Kevin Spacey supported the BFT's crowdfunding campaign.
- The Halloween Kid – by Axelle Carolyn, James Webber and Neil Marshall – an homage to Halloween, as well as a tale of childhood, loneliness and monsters.
- The Occupied Times of London – a non-profit, free newspaper that describes itself as the voice of the Occupy movement.
- Spirit of '71 – by David McNulty: a documentary about the first Glastonbury Festival.
- Undermining Justice – by Michael Watts: an investigative documentary about human rights abuses allegedly committed by British mining company Monterrico Metals in Peru.
- Il Maestro – by Jennie Paddon: a short film about competitiveness in the world of classical musicians.
- Three-Legged Horses and Five Six Seven Eight! by Felipe Bustos Sierra, made with Debasers Filums, two Scottish crowdfunded film projects.
- The Salt Maiden – Australian film shot on Coochiemudlo Island, Australia.
- Living in the Future – web series documenting the birth and life of the first eco village in the UK.
- Plastic Republic – by University College London research students. Synthetic biology project to clean plastic pollution from the oceans using synthetic organisms.
- O'Hear, Steve (April 28, 2010). "Sponsume lets projects get off the ground with Groupon-style group funding model". TechCrunch.
- crunchbase.com (April 2010). "Sponsume CrunchBase Profile".
- Hutchinson, Jack (June 2010). "The viral funding model: Sponsume". AIR.[dead link]
- Youngs, Ian (March 28, 2011). "Arts world gets creative in funding crisis". bbc.co.uk.
- Gavin, Miranda (May 4, 2011). "Wisdom of crowds: Can crowdfunding help photographers?". British Journal of Photography.
- Bustos Sierra, Felipe (January 7, 2011). "Help get the Rocky theme tune into Edinburgh rickshaw film". Guardian.co.uk.
- Bulkley, Kate (October 2010). "Is crowd-funding the future for documentaries?". Guardian.co.uk.
- Bridge, Mark (July 18, 2012). "Nanobots could turn 'Great Pacific Plastic Patch' into a floating island". .
- Kumar, Naresh (April 30, 2010). "Sponsume: Crowdsourced Project Funding With Benefits". PSFK.
- "Europe’s first-ever crowd-funded and crowd-sourced archaeological excavation". Archeological Institute of America.
- Bridge, Mark (April 23, 2011). "Art-lovers step up to save creative projects". The Times.
- Bridge, Mark (July 18, 2012). "Nanobots could turn 'Great Pacific Plastic Patch' into a floating island". Wired.