Top Crowdfunding Site Expands Into TV

FundRazr has raised $28 million online. Now, one of Canada's top startups is taking to the airwaves to get more exposure for its campaigns

Written by Jim McElgunn

If the TV show about Canada’s largest fundraising platform becomes a hit, here’s hoping that one of the recipients of the money raised will revive a classic Hollywood movie line: “At last we’ll be able to pay for Mother’s operation!”

The Crowd Funder Show will focus entirely on crowdfunding campaigns through FundRazr, which ranked No. 30 on this year’s PROFIT HOT 50 ranking of Canada’s Top New Growth Companies. Toronto production company Merton Park Film Studios is the creator of the program. The first episode will air Sept. 22 on WUTV, the FOX station in Buffalo, N.Y., which serves Southern Ontario and Western New York. Later episodes will air on stations in Seattle, Ottawa, Montreal and Boston.

FundRazr has since its founding in 2009 raised $28 million online for various causes. Often, the funds go to help American families facing devastating medical bills. But FundRazr also raises money for entrepreneurs, non-profits, educational costs and a long list of other causes.

Daryl Hatton, the Vancouver-based firm’s CEO, says 800 competitors have started up in this field in the past two years, but FundRazr has raised almost 100 times as much as its nearest rival He attributes this in part to his firm’s skill at leveraging social media to get wide exposure for its campaigns.

Read more about FundRazr and the rest of the 2013 PROFIT HOT 50

“We make it easier for people to comment on the campaign or to conduct other social-media activities,” says Hatton. “When you do that, Facebook, Twitter and Google look at the types of stories and say, €˜Wow, that must be interesting, because people are interacting with it.’ So they show the campaign to more people on their newsfeeds.”

Each 30-minute episode of the TV show will tell the stories of six or seven campaigns. When campaigners start a crowdfunding project, they offer perks to supporters in return for their money. For The Crowd Funder Show, FundRazr has lined up some big corporate backers so that donors will be able to choose from gift cards from brands including Best Buy, Starbucks, Cineplex, Canadian Tire, Pizza Pizza and Petro-Canada. As well, Hatton will have his own segment on the show where he’ll offer advice on crowdfunding and comment on trends in the industry.

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