Got a great idea but feel stuck getting it up and running? There’s an unconference just for you.
From February 4th to 6th, Indiegogo and Pittsburgh-based Fygment–two alternative funding organizations–are partnering to present #GoGoPgh, a three-day conference on crowdfunding to raise awareness of organizations that offer unconventional sources of funding. And a lot more.
Events slated over the three days include workshops and panels and networking events in venues all over the city, including Thrill Mill, Natural Choice Barbershop, the Pitt Innovation Institute,The Union Project and Carnegie Mellon.
“Crowdfunding has become an incredible tool for testing ideas, developing prototypes, organizing community campaigns, and launching products or services,” says Kit Mueller, a founder of Fygment. “But most crowdfunding platforms have been myopic on NYC, San Fran, and LA over the last few years.”
While Pittsburgh has entrepreneurs in all fields that have been successful using crowdfunding–from hardware and gaming to music and culinary–one thing lacking is enough early stage funding through traditional channels such as foundations and venture capital firms, he adds.
They hope to change that and their connection to Indiegogo won’t hurt. Fygment has close ties to some of the earliest investors of Indiegogo and the head of sales and marketing after having exited a venture-backed business together, says Mueller.
Fygment was recently formed to help makers and doers in the region get “unstuck” in a myriad of ways, including microgrants (funded by the Fygment marketplace), capacity building, mentorship and other strategic initiatives–including conferences such as this one.
One goal of the conference is to create a free and open series of panels and workshops and events to educate as many as possible in the startup community on how to successfully crowdfund.
Another goal is to “launch Pittsburgh as the focus city for Indiegogo in 2015 and make it a crowdfunding center like London and San Fran,” says Mueller.
Fygment hopes to spark no fewer than 25 campaigns from the conference and begin to form classes that launch annually. “The further hope is that each class becomes a sort of alumni network and drives further adoption of both crowdfunding and specific industry adoption,” adds Mueller.
More than 500 attendees are confirmed as of today and they expect more than 750. One event that is already sold out is the New-Fashioned Funding: Which one is right for your awesome idea? — a forum where “artists, innovators, entrepreneurs and dreamers” can learn how each nontraditional funding source can help launch ideas.
Led by Awesome Pittsburgh and Fygment, a panel with representatives from Indiegogo, Kiva Zip, Dream Cream Ice Cream, Party for a Purpose, Soup N’at and The Sprout Fund will discuss their programs and answer questions that will help applicants figure out which option/s are the best fit for their projects.
There are plenty more panels and workshops to sign up for but don’t delay. Find the full schedule at the GoGoPgh site.
And if you want to help? Bring friends, share the info and tag everything with #GoGoPgh, Mueller suggests.