To reach the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels will require hard work and innovation across many different sectors and types of actors, not just governments but also companies and investors.
While there is significant attention on governmental commitments and also recently the wave of corporate netzero commitments, less focus has been on the role that investors can play in meeting this important goal.
Recently Silicon Valley Bank published a Future of Climate Technology report that highlighted the massive boom that green tech is having right now across several different industries. Not just governments and corporations, but also VCs and other fundraisers are taking an active role in climate change by funding companies and creating technologies that are working toward a more sustainable future. For instance, VC fundraising for climate tech-focused funds in 2021 is on track to hit a record $21B and capital flowing from VC funds to climate tech companies is on course to reach a record $49B.
Within this ecosystem, crowdfunding is another sector that’s contributing to this massive green tech boom. For instance, crowdfinding platform Indiegogo has raised more than $78M for sustainable products, and sustainable tech as a whole.
As part of my research of purpose-driven businesses, I talked to Andy Yang, the CEO of Indiegogo about the role of crowdfunding in general and how it is an important source for greentech in particular. Below is a lightly edited excerpt from our on-line exchange.
Christopher Marquis: What is the mission of Indiegogo and how is the platform different from other crowdfunding platforms?
Andy Yang: Indiegogo is a crowdfunding platform that enables entrepreneurs to go to market and raise funds from everyday backers looking to get in early on the most unique and exclusive tech products. Our mission is to create a worldwide network of communities that connect trustworthy, professional entrepreneurs and the enthusiasts who power their innovation. As a pioneering crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo is known for launching successful brands and helping fund over 800,000 ideas since inception.
The current landscape of crowdfunding is really diverse and full of options, which is great for both backers and entrepreneurs. There’s a wide range of platforms that are zeroing in on specific areas of crowdfunding, such as crowdfunding for causes (GoFundMe) or crowdfunding for artists (Patreon). While Indiegogo hosts a variety of products and projects across categories on its site, we pride ourselves on being one of the only crowdfunding platforms that provides a robust selection of tech, hardware and innovation products, specifically.
Indiegogo is also the only crowdfunding platform that offers campaign owners proprietary services and support that can help campaigns raise the most funds possible. Beyond hosting the platform, our expert team provides guidance and consultation on how to maximize campaign potential and when published, we amplify the best campaigns through marketing & promotions. This is why entrepreneurs choose Indiegogo – because of its track record of launching successful brands with an unmatched level of support, platform features, and global reach.
Marquis: Why do you think greentech has grown on Indiegogo in the past few years?
Yang: Indiegogo defines green tech as innovations by which either incorporation of design and/or functionality genuinely considers the environmental impact of the user, brand, or both.
In the global greentech and sustainability market alone, it’s predicted to be a $57.8 billion industry by 2030. So it’s evident that the category will continue to grow as an increasingly tech savvy population of consumers become more eco-conscious of the products they buy and support.
Crowdfunding is not immune to this larger industry trend. In fact, looking at data on crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo can help us understand what kinds of innovations are top of mind for consumers that consider themselves tech savvy, early adopters, at a micro-level. Indiegogo’s backers pride themselves on discovering and funding the most cutting edge products and technologies, so it’s no surprise that greentech has garnered such massive support in the last year on the platform from this demographic. Greentech campaign funds raised on Indiegogo grew 145% from what we saw in 2020 YTD and support grew 900% in the last year.
Additionally, not only has support from backers grown, but we’ve noticed how much this awareness has translated into new campaigns and product creation with campaign launches for greentech seeing a 35% jump from 2020.
Marquis: What do you think this trend says about what today’s consumers want in their tech products?
Yang: I think the growth of greentech campaigns shows that today’s consumers are conscious about the products that they’re using and how it impacts the environment, and on a platform like Indiegogo, this doesn’t have to come at the expense of forfeiting new and hot technologies. Consumers don’t want to feel like they need to give up the modern luxuries and technologies that they’ve grown used to, so they’re looking for more unique and clever products that can both allow them to be more sustainable while also being at the forefront of tech. At least on Indiegogo, backers believe that their products and technology can help create more sustainable ways of living and consuming while also making their life easier, more efficient, or fashionable.
Marquis: What kind of an impact can the crowdfunding industry make on funding important new sectors, such as greentech/sustainability?
Yang: First and foremost, crowdfunding is an incredibly viable route for financing that often gets overlooked when entrepreneurs are looking for capital for a new product or idea. Many also gravitate towards crowdfunding because they believe it’s a more inclusive avenue than traditional venture capital fundraising or loans because it doesn’t fence out underserved and/or marginalized entrepreneurs. Crowdfunding on Indiegogo also provides entrepreneurs a community of like-minded people who can provide support and feedback on projects and innovations. It’s also one of the most efficient ways to get capital directly into the hands of entrepreneurs.
Products that make their debut on crowdfunding platforms are just as impactful. To date, crowdfunding of greentech products on Indiegogo has raised more than $78M for sustainable products, and sustainable tech as a whole. The more recognition that crowdfunding gains as an impactful source of capital, the more of an impact it can have on game changing sectors for the environment. It has been extremely rewarding to first-hand see our green tech and energy sector grow immensely on Indiegogo.
Marquis: What are some of the popular greentech campaigns on Indiegogo?
Yang: The Lomi (instant waste compost bin), Briiv (a sustainable air purifier), and the GoSun Chillest (a solar cooler that doesn’t need ice) are some of Indiegogo’s most popular greentech campaigns on the platform right now. All three have raised a combined total of over $8M from their campaigns on Indiegogo.
Indiegogo is not only constantly adding new sustainable and greentech campaigns to the platform, but actively boosts and promotes this emerging popular category. All energy and greentech campaigns can be found on our website and you can read about some of our most popular greentech campaigns here.