Most other platforms that have popped up do judge. What makes me really proud is that we’ve stuck to our philosophy. It’s really starting to pay off.
What the most exciting project you’ve seen come out of Indigogo?
That’s like asking a parent who’s their favourite child [laughs].
It’s not fair! All kinds of ideas are coming to life—one’s we never could have predicated. Because we don’t curate, they fall across a really broad spectrum. Everything from cool entrepreneurial campaigns, like LED lights, to creative projects, like last week we had International Women’s week. We had campaigns which raised over $1.4 million, all for either artists or entrepreneurs or causes that support women. One woman created a children’s book called Madame President. Then you have total cause-related ideas that show when the community is empowered, they can really come together and make something happen.
An example that came out of Australia is the community who did not want a big Macdonalds to be built in their neighbourhood. They petitioned, but everyone ignored them, so they went on Indigogo to raise money to take the petition to headquarters. Their goal was $2000, they ended up raising over $40,000. Which was clearly a sign that the community did not want Macdonalds to be there. They used the extra money to hire a filmmaker to come with them, to document their trip to Chicago, which turned it into a bigger story, which helped them garner press, which then put the pressure on Macdonalds to actually do the right thing. So it all parlayed into this huge movement just because we gave the community the ability to organise and vote with their dollar.
So all of these projects are people putting out there the things that really matter to them. What really matters to you?
I have so many ideas. It would probably be around entrepreneurship education for young girls. The only reason I think I was able to start a company was because I had parents that told me I could from a very young age. Whenever school wasn’t teaching me how to do it. I just think we don’t have enough encouragement in society for young girls to discover the entrepreneurial side of themselves, but I do think it’s there. We do nothing to nourish that. I’d want to do something in that vein. I also might do something around… dogs.
[Laughs]. I just love my dog. He’s an 11-year-old mutt. I got him at the RSPCA. He’s part shitzu, part something, I don’t know. He’s a loveable little guy. He got sick last year and I had to spend a lot of money. It made me realise that so many people don’t have this money. Love is priceless.
You tweeted that, “The impact of being yourself is endless.” How has that manifested in your own life?
What I meant by that comment was… I worked in a career for a while were I had to wear a uniform. There was a certain structure. That’s fine. But I’m actually doing a lot of work right now for our company, to identify the values and beliefs which will allow us to democratise finance, and then to make sure that the people we have here embody those values and beliefs authentically, because I think the more aligned our people are, the more successful we’ll be and the more successful our people will be. So what I meant by that tweet was, when you are your whole self, when you are your whole self, when you know what drives you and you embrace your values, and you accept your strengths and your weaknesses, and you allow yourself to be in a role that really calls upon the person that you are, you never feel like you’re working. You feel like you’re just being. What results is amazing for yourself and the company, and you feel good in it. The sky is the limit as to what you can accomplish.
I see so many people struggling in their work because their adhering to some construct of who they think they need to be and spend so much energy trying to change themselves, whereas if they could just accept themselves and find work which encourages them to be themselves more…
But do you think there are enough companies around that actually nourish that sense of self in people?
I think individuals have to nourish that in themselves. For example, I have a friend who works in investment banking. He’s incredibly successful. Why? He’s an incredibly competitive person, he loves the intellectual stimulation. A lot of people hate it, because that’s not who they are.
There’s no right or wrong culture, there’s no good or bad culture, there’s only strong cultures or weak cultures. Strong cultures are ones which make sure they have the right people who exhibit those values and behaviours, and they are aligned. It’s the weak cultures where maybe you need to be super competitive and market-share oriented, but you’re full of people who care more about innovation and learning. That’s just not gonna work.
Maybe you’re a company that needs to innovate every day, like Indigogo. We fail every day. If we were full of people who were just trying to beat out the person sitting next to them, we would fail as a company. We need people that naturally want to innovate, are curious and are happy to fail.
On that note, what does success for Indigogo look like to you?
Success is a world were access to capital is totally democratised. Which means anywhere you are, you can fund whatever matters to you. And that the only thing standing in your way is yourself.