UFunded brings crowdfunding to universities

In the realm of entrepreneurs, crowdfunding seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue, making the recent launch of Columbus-based UFunded very timely.

A crowdfunding platform dedicated to accelerating entrepreneurship in university communities, UFunded allows individuals to network and pool money and expertise to support startups.

“UFunded leverages the inherent affinity of alumni for their alma maters,” says its CEO and Co-founder Cuyler Hunter. “We enable students, alumni and faculty to showcase their products, services and ideas to an existing, but yet untapped resource of alumni funders, advisors and collaborators.”

Funders can contribute money, expertise and advice to entrepreneurs in exchange for rewards, products, or services selected by the entrepreneur.

Campaigners create videos, post photos, and give detailed information to explain how funding will be used.

Entrepreneurs share their campaign −which includes videos, photos, and detailed information about how funding will be used− with family and friends using built-in social media tools that link to Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube.

Alumni funders then evaluate campaigns and support the people they care about. Any funder who contributes to a campaign that does not reach its goal will have their money refunded.

UFunded screens all campaigns and only hosts campaigns it believes will have commercial appeal.

To date, UFunded supports campaigns for six businesses and entrepreneurs, all of whom have received funding. They are:

  • • BRU, an on-premise brewery and bar scheduled to open in summer 2012.
  • • Creative Customizing, which specializes in customized apparel and allows clients to earn commissions by making sales through its website.
  • • KC Carter, a musical artist making a video for his single, “Holding Me Back.”
  • Pursuit, a pop-up retailer specializing in classic suits tailored to the modern guy.
  • • Sidenow, a Facebook-inspired debate application that allows users to vote, share and debate their opinions among groups.
  • • Social Dips, a salsa company whose packaging features disposable, single-use cups.

UFunded collects 5 percent of all funds raised by users who reach their stated target.

Further, each transaction is handled by a payment processor who charges a fee based on the amount of funding raised. That typically ranges from 3 to 6 percent of funding, according to UFunded.

To learn more about UFunded, visit UFunded.com.