Three Massive Funding Opportunities for Everybody Outside Silicon Valley

by Lisa Thorell on September 13, 2012

Back in June I gave a presentation at downtown Orlando as, well, frankly, the warm-up act for Urban Rethink’s panel discussion on Wired for Venture Capital. As a former Silicon Valleyite and startup marketeer in Seattle’s  Internet 1.0 (aka 1994-1996) tech scene,  it was awesome to meet  and hear some of the folks behind Orlando’s emerging startup scene, people like Kyle Steele of DocCaster, Derek Gallo of Avectra,  Greg Pollack of Envy Labs and Orren Davis who organized  Startup Weekend Orlando.

Let’s be real: It’s not easy doing tech in Central Florida. Unlike Mountain View, San Francisco or Seattle, Orlando is not one of the bastions of venture funding.

My own personal theory is that  when the crux of the regional economy is built around the 40 M people that don’t live here (aka tourists for the Central Florida theme parks), there’s a diminished sense of the value of  the 2.7 M people who actually live here.( Until October 2011, Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity was known as the Governor’s Office of Tourism,  Trade and Economic Development  — as though tourism and economic development were inextricable linked.)

So it’s all the more awesome that the tech community here darts around from small cafe meetings, creative hubs like Urban Rethink and Central Florida Tech meetups, moving between the giant tour buses heading to cruise ships, Disney resorts and mega-malls.

Luckily, when it comes to getting funding, geographic location is getting increasingly irrelevant.

For unless you’ve been vacationing in  Kazachstan for the past four years, it’s no secret that funding  – whether to reward singular talents, subsidize a group creative project or seed a startup has changed enormously. And for the better.

Particularly for those of us who live outside the bastions of venture funding, far from the Sandhill Road crowd, it’s comforting to know the democratizing access to capital is in full swing. Whether you’re looking for $5000, $50,000, $500,000 or $5 million,  there’s no better time than now.

Mypresentation  below covers the relatively new opportunities outside the hallowed realm of venture capital funding, namely open challenge prizes, reward-based crowdfunding and equity based crowdfunding. A mash-up of market overview and practical advice,  I hope you’ll find at least one of these new funding venues intriguing. For as I describe in Slide 26, there’s a form of funding to match different analytical and organizational styles, whether you are indie or part of a fully fledged LLC or S Corporation.

Readers can access the bookmarks within my Crowdfunding Stack on Delicious to see the sources for the research summarized in the presentation.

 

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