Loomio launches $118k crowdfunding campaign for Loomio 1.0
Loomio, the Wellington-built decision-making tool co-founded by six entrepreneurs, has just launched a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $100,000 USD ($118,203 NZD). The team of twelve behind the startup will use this funding to develop Loomio 1.0, an advanced, mobile-optimised improvement of the prototype that is currently being used by thousands of people across the globe.
The idea for Loomio was conceived when the Occupy movement encountered Wellington-based social enterprise hub Enspiral. They realised they shared the same challenge doing decentralised, collaborative decision-making, and decided to create a solution. Thousands have already taken advantage of the service, but Alanna Krause, a Loomio co-founder, told New Zealand Entrepreneurs that what they’ve launched so far is only a prototype.
She said, “It’s proved very useful to lots of groups around the world. But for us, success means a truly inclusive way to do decision-making, and our testing and research with the prototype has shown that we’re not there yet.
“We need to bring down the barriers so anyone, anywhere can participate in decisions that affect them.”
That’s where Loomio 1.0 comes in. “Loomio 1.0 will need to be mobile, accessible, safe, and totally easy to use. We’ve spent nearly two years learning exactly what will get us there, now we just need to build it!”
[Tweet “Real democracy needs to include everyone. Democracy = collaboration. #loomio.”]
The tool’s prototype has been in daily use by people around the world for 18 months, Alanna told us, and this has allowed the team to carry out real user testing and discover what they need to make inclusive, collaborative decision-making easy and accessible for everyone.
The new iteration of the concept will feature a heavy focus on being mobile, “which is especially important for the developing world where computers can be scarce.” It will be intuitive, effortless to use – like email – so that “non-technical” people can fully participate. Additionally, organisations will be able to host their own instances of Loomio 1.0 and control their own data and privacy.
“Enabling large groups of people to work together online is a problem that actually has not been solved yet,” Alanna said. “We want to push the envelope of how online discussions work.”
That’s where you come in. On Tuesday, 11th March, Loomio is launching a crowdfunding campaign on their website to ease the project out of beta and fund the development of the tool’s bigger and better incarnation.
“We’re resourcing the project through crowdfunding so it will be driven by the community of people who want it to happen,” Alanna said, “not by advertisers or people who want to sell user data. Right from the start, we’ve been a community-driven project, so crowdfunding is a perfect fit for us.”
They’ve set an ambitious goal of $100,000 USD ($118,203 NZD), but they’re hoping to go far beyond that. Alanna said that if the campaign hits $252,108, they will unlock matching funding from Callaghan Innovation, which has already been approved. This will be used to innovate the technology required for scaling decision-making, if Loomio can get enough support.
With over 11,000 unique users registered for Loomio already, and about 2,000 active monthly users, the Wellington team know they have a market for their startup, and now it’s time to grow into a fully-fledged product ready for daily use.
If you’d like to be a part of the decision-making revolution Loomio is spearheading, you can go over to http://love.loomio.org, and donate as little or as much as you’d like, Alanna said.
“By giving to the campaign, you can get some sweet rewards like early access to the new software, and consulting services for your organisation at special rates.”
Equally as important, every contribution, no matter how small or large, will help the campaign gain momentum and aid the team behind Loomio to place their tool into the hands of more people across the world.