pitchIN pitches crowd-funding, Malaysian style

  • Three entrepreneurs want to further oil the ecosystem
  • Selected projects screened to minimise wrath of the crowd

pitchIN pitches crowd-funding, Malaysian styleTHE idea behind PitchIN, Malaysia’s version of crowdsourcing funding for creative projects, came about when three entrepreneurs got together and talked about wanting to do more for the ecosystem. This was last year.
“We knew we wanted to do something in the Internet and mobile environment and after kicking around some ideas, decided it would be cool if we could disrupt the current mode of project funding for creative and design projects where funding is either from family, friends, government or banks,” says Sam Shafie (pic), one of the trio behind PitchIN. The others are Megat Ishak and Kashminder Singh.
The original concept came from the United States with http://www.kickstarter.com/.
The trio just felt that entrepreneurs who had creative projects like film, animation, books and design, needed another avenue to raise funding.
“We thought why not get everyone to help each other out. This serves two purposes. It strengthens the ecosystem and it serves to act as a form of validation for your project if enough people like it and give you money to chase your dream,” notes Sam.
The other big advantage is that it stops people from complaining that they can’t raise funding.
Instead of equity, the project owners promise rewards that are directly related to their projects.
Every ringgit counts
To ensure success of the project, and being keenly aware that they need positive buzz generated from the first group of projects put up under the inaugural pitchIN, Sam and his team screened the projects.
“These have been validated by us and our friends -- meaning we can vouch for the people who have put their projects up for funding.”
The people chosen have two big things going for them: They are all passionate and creative.
But naturally being passionate and creative does not mean that one is determined and has a strong sense of commitment. So, the biggest fear of the pitchIN team is that the projects owners take the money that they have raised and do not end up finishing the project. Beware the wrath of the crowds.
To ensure that the projects are being diligently being carried out, the six projects up for pitchIN later today (June 12) are required to give weekly updates and at 30, 45 and 60 days. There must also be a video presentation by the owner of the project.
The idea is to be as transparent as possible to the community because every ringgit counts, and to let the community regulate them, says Sam.
“Karma works,” he quips. “We just advise the project owners to communicate, communicate, communicate.”
They are also advised to start work on their projects before the money comes in, to demonstrate their passion.
Trio behind pitchIN
Shamsul Jafni Shafie or Sam Shafie is a lawyer turned entrepreneur. He started his career as a Deputy Public Prosecutor in the Commercial Crime Unit of the Attorney-General Chambers and also had stints in the Securities Commission.
In 2000 he joined the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). While at the MCMC, Sam mainly focused on setting up policies in relation to E-Commerce Trust and the Digital Signature infrastructure, Information and Network Security and the self-regulatory forums.
Megat Ishak has clocked in almost two decades in the communications industry covering numerous areas there. Legally trained in Wales, UK, his initial foray into the industry was as a legal expert for Binariang Sdn Bhd, now known as Maxis. He was also one of the architects of the first joint telco initiative to combat fraudulent activities of subscribers.
Kashminder Singh is the founder and Managing Editor of tech magazine Mobile World, a homegrown publication that marked its 10th anniversary last month.
A serial entrepreneur; he is always working on starting up IT, mobile and new media projects and events. He is also co-founder of Commtechasia that created and runs GoMobile, which bills itself as the Ultimate Mobile Lifestyle event.

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