First crowd-funding platform goes live in KL
Challenge will be to ensure traction among Malaysian public
THE launch of pitchIN yesterday (June 12) could not have gone better. The attendance was good, the media spent a good 30 minutes with co-founder Sam Shafie in a press conference to understand the motives and mechanics behind the country’s first crowd-funding platform and there was genuine optimism that this could gain traction.
The entrepreneurs whose creative ideas were chosen had a great time sharing their ideas with the audience and getting to know Datuk Badlisham Ghazalie, CEO of Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) and Nazrin Hassan, CEO of Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd.
Both spent a good hour after the event talking to the pioneer batch of six and getting to know them, what they plan to create and their motivations. They left an impact. So much so that one young entrepreneur gushed, “they are so cool. So encouraging and positive. This is great!”
That aside, Badlisham (pic) did acknowledges that it could be a challenge to see an initiative like pitchIN get a foothold and become part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. “It is all going to depend on the founders of this to find ways to make it work,” he says, referring to Sam Shafie, Kashminder Singh and Megat Ishak.
The trio are already looking to get corporates involved to help fund some of the ideas. Badlisham thinks that is a good idea but adds that corporates will want to see that this initiative has some legs to it before they come in, which means the Malaysian public has to take to the concept and see value in it for themselves too.
“But you never know until you try. I think it is already an achievement to take the idea and to get it to this stage of execution.”
Sam though is clearly thinking beyond Malaysia already but realizes every effort has to go in to educate the public about Kickstarter-style crowd-funding and the value of the concept.
A lot will also depend on the pioneer six, who, should they hit their funding target, must create a great product that creates positive buzz among their funders who then act as champions to spread the word about pitchIN. “I salute these guys. They will pave the way for others,” he says.
The amount pledged is denominated in US dollars and while this has raised some eyebrows, Sam explains that the rationale is simple. “We want to attract everyone to be part of this initiative and thus picked the ‘global currency’.”
As to the plans to build a business model around this initiative, Sam (pic) says, “To be honest, we are not even looking at that yet. Let’s make sure this works and then we will think about it but for sure making money out of this is not our motivation in doing this.”
Pledges have to be made via PayPal. Sam says he tried to work with some local online payment providers but unfortunately this did not work out. “I am disappointed but neither of them could offer a pre-authorisation feature which means the money pledged is held back until we give the green light for it to be charged to the pledger.
“We do not want to take the money immediately and if the particular project does not raise the desired amount, to then return the money as the pledger would have incurred some costs then.”
pitchIN pitches crowd-funding, Malaysian style