Fee-free crowdfunding platform for Edinburgh Fringe launches

Fee-free crowdfunding platform for Edinburgh Fringe launches

credit: Chris Scott

Fringe Funder helps Festival hopefuls kickstart their shows (without Kickstarter)

Financing your Fringe show is a notoriously difficult business for performers and theatre groups. In recent years crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter have helped, but these sites still take a service fee, which is a healthy chunk of your contribution. Fringe Funder is the new kid on the block and it promises to offer all the best features of these established sites, but with no platform fee – saving you precious flyer printing funds or, you know, food for starving artists.

The service offers the usual features those who have fund raised before with be familiar with, including campaign management, backer-only updates and two funding types: ‘keep what you raise’ and ‘all or nothing’. You’ll still have a payment processing fee of 3% like Crowdfunder – Kickstarter and Indiegogo charge 4% – but not the 5-6% platform fee of those sites, saving you around £308 on a £5,000 campaign.

We caught up with producer behind the newly launched project, Daniel Berg, to find out more…

What made you decide to set up this service?
I was helping some friends on other crowdfunding projects and saw that fringe campaigns being diluted across various crowdfunding platforms. It didn't feel quite right as the Fringe is such a community. I thought it deserved its own website so I went and set one up.

So there’s no service fee – only the 3% processing fee – how is the platform itself funded / sustainable?
I'm happy to foot the bill, it doesn't actually cost that much to run. Next year I'll look into sponsorship and non-profit status but Fringe Funder will continue regardless and never charge a service fee.

What’s your own Fringe experience?
I first went as an audience member in 2001 with my parents – I'll never forget seeing Noble and Silver make my dad sit with a microwave on his lap for the entire show. Since then, I've been back many times, scouting for production companies, filming for ComComedy and judging awards.

Apart from being service fee free and Fringe focussed, what will set Fringe Funder apart from other crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter?
There's loads of features like 'keep what you raise' funding which Kickstarter doesn't offer but is appropriate for most Fringe campaigns. Though I'd say the main thing is that it's a real grass roots platform that comes from a place of support rather than profit, and will hopefully foster a community of Fringe lovers who feel the same.

How will using your platform benefit potential users (apart from being free), particularly in this first year when the name is not recognised?
Fringe Funder not only helps secure funds, it offers users the chance to build their fanbase, increase their show's exposure and sell tickets. Giving producers a real head start before the first show's even begun.

You have three shows already signed up, tell us about them about how they came on board?
I started talking to people about Fringe Funder and the response was amazing – word spread and theatre producers started getting in touch about their shows, some of which I selected to be part of the launch. One show is Exactly Like You by Lotte Rice, Joe Brown, Matt Whayman and Kirsty Patrick-Ward – it's about a girl who spends the day piecing together what happened the night before whilst conjuring up an inner-dialogue with Nina Simone. It's a spoken word performance and the promotional video is spoken word too which is really special.

Another launch project is They Built It. No One Came by Fledgling Theatre, which is inspired by the incredible true story of two men who set up a spiritualist commune and waited 20 years for members, with zero success. I've met the cast and I think it's going to be really funny and uniquely profound show. On FringeFunder.com, there's also a few previews of other shows that will be added soon.

Find out more at FringeFunder.com.

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