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Mindful : October 2014
Mindful spoke with Danae in San Francisco, California . Mindful: Tell us about Indiegogo and who you’re hoping it benefits. Danae: I started Indiegogo because I saw ideas—dozens, hundreds, thousands if not millions of ideas—going unborn every day because people lack access to capital. It’s not for lack of heart or hustle, it’s simply because people don’t know a person who could say yes and cut a check. So I started Indiegogo to make capital flow freely and provide efficient access to it. We did that by creating a platform where anyone can start a campaign and fund anything. We don’t curate and we don’t decide who has the right to raise money. Your idea lives or dies based on how hard you’re willing to work a nd how much the world wa nts it. I think that’s the world we need to live in—one that uses technology as a means to a greater end. For Indiegogo, that’s a world where finance is completely decentra lized a nd everybody has equal opportunity to bring their ideas to life. We’re actually returning finance to its roots by putting trust, relationships, and authenticity back into the mix. Fina nce was born hundreds of yea rs ago. Think of the story of the origins of Wall Street where 24 bankers came together under a tree and decided to trade with each other. All based on a per- sonal, one-to-one, trusting relationship. Then, as technology evolved, it actually pulled trust out of the system by making finance more opaque—an indirect system of money management where people don’t know where their money is going. Indiegogo returned authenticity and personal relationships back into finance. And in that process, we’re giving people the opportunity to be their authentic self. Rather than pitch a line that they know venture capital wants to hear, they have to be honest with themselves as to why they want to start a food truck or raise funds for their next gadget. You have to be honest with yourself about why you’re doing it; because if you’re not honest with yourself you can’t be honest with others; and if you’re not honest with others they ca n’t connect with you. What we’re unleashing is vulnerability—allow- ing people across the world to connect and make things happen together. “We’re actually returning finance to its roots by putting trust, relationships, and authenticity back into the mix.” Danae Ringelmann co-founder of Indiegogo In the process of ra ising money in an Indiegogo campaig n, people often find that they connect with a whole new audience as well as raise aware- ness about what their g reater goal is. It provides a way for people to engage with the subject mat ter beyond the funding process. Indiegogo enables people to shape the world a round them in a much more proactive way. Now we have people leaning into their life versus leaning out, they’re asking, “ What matters to me?” For example, a lot of people say Hollywood ma kes really terrible movies. Well now you have no more excuses. If you wa nt to see a film that ’s not a blockbuster sequel, you ca n ma ke it happen. You can either ma ke it or fund it. The benefit to society is allowing people to get in touch with themselves, discover who they are a nd what matters to them, and take action. Empowerment is one of our va lues at Indiegogo. (See page 39 to learn more about Indiegogo values.) Could you share some details about your background? For example, what did your parents do? My parents ran a small business, and they struggled for a long time to keep that business alive, but they had a medi- tation practice that allowed them to see it as a means and not necessarily the end in itself. It was a means for our family to live in San Francisco and to have a roof over our head a nd they found a way to get us into private schools, which were incredibly expensive. My parents taught us that money is just money. It’s a means. It’s a tool. It’s not an end in and of itself. → 36 mindful October 2014 business