Crowdfunding is a wonderful thing. It originated to help people with a great idea but not a lot of money turn their dreams into reality. Today, everyone from broke computer engineers to rich musicians and movie stars turn to crowdfunding websites to fund what they couldnâ€™t (or didnâ€™t want to) spend their own money on. As you read this, you can (and should!) help ace Indian racer Rajini Krishnan defend his championship title in the Malaysian Superbike Championship by sponsoring him here.
Thereâ€™s a new trend creeping up in the Indian crowdfunding scene â€”Â engineering students gaining the necessary funds to build a car for competitions like the Baja SAE, Supra SAE or the Formula Student India, to name a few. A quick browse through the websites like wishberry.inÂ orÂ ketto.org reveals multiple such active campaigns in various states of funding. Interestingly, WishberryÂ reports that it has successfully hosted quite a few such projects. In fact, itÂ claims that nine of 10Â projects in the last year have been successfully funded, raising anything from Rs 1.5 to Rs 3.5 lakh for their builds.
The question is â€” who is funding these projects? Crowdfunding generally works on aÂ reward basis. Depending on how much money you pledge, the owners of the project will offer you some form of reward. For example, a tech project that is developing a new gadget might reward you by giving you one of those gadgets for free if the project is fully funded. Itâ€™s what makes people invest in crowdfunding projects in the first place. But cash-strapped students whoâ€™ve turned to crowdfunding have precious little to offer apart from public thanks on social media and perhaps a sponsor mention on the project car. Thatâ€™s where Wishberry reveals some interesting information â€”Â over 70 per cent of the funders are from the college alumnus.
So websites like Wishberry have essentially created a platform for students to approach people who have been in the same position in the past and know the pains involved in gathering funds for such projects. Theyâ€™re generally more than happy to help out and keep their college flag flying high â€” another great example of the internet helpingÂ aÂ little guy out. We wouldnâ€™t be surprised to see higher levels of engineering in future events as students have more access to better materials and technologies.