A New Year Message from Bloom founder Amanda Boyle
What are you looking forward to in the new year?
Thinking about 2012 made me realise how much I relish the challenges and opportunities ahead. The short answer is building a world-class, kick-ass business... but that's a pretty short contribution, so here's the unabridged version.
I can't remember ever being so enthusiastic and excited about a New Year. Listening to the news - unemployment, debt, business failures - some might think it more appropriate to curl under the duvet and wait for the worst to pass. But, spend a few minutes on Twitter or LinkedIn or any of the established socially networked sites this holiday season, and the message is loud and clear, people are optimistic, positive and enthusiastic about the future. And no one is more so than me!
It's almost two years since I stumbled across the embryonic, online phenomenon that is crowdfunding. What got me interested was what always hooks me... there's a problem looking for a solution and an appetite for disruption of the status quo. So I got to work finding out more, analysing the data and reviewing the legislation.
For anyone unfamiliar with the model, crowdfunding enables people to raise the funding for their start-up venture, community project or social enterprise from their friends, family, and social networks. Just as we've been doing since the dawn of time, only now using the Internet to reach farther, spread the word and without sacrificing ownership.
There are already some terrific sites, delivering millions of dollars, pounds and Euro to get things started. Who hasn't heard of Kickstarter or Indiegogo or Sellaband, leading the way for newbies like Bloom - Venture Catalyst or PeopleFund or WeDidThis. Today, there are 1574 sites and counting across the world, it feels like the beginning of a revolution.
I thought I'd achieved just about everything I wanted to, had no ambitions to repeat anything, and was waiting for something exciting to come along. It's taken 12 months of focus, determination and persuasion to get this far; not forgetting a fantastic team and an incredibly patient, supportive board, who are as deeply committed as I am to growing the entrepreneurial eco-system.
The biggest milestone to date has been developing and publishing the website, the next goal is to build the community that will generate £1million for startups, projects and causes. If that's not worth looking forward to, I don't know what is.
Wishing you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.