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gfm2 The Makers Behind GoFundMe

GoFundMe co-founders Brad Damphousse and Andy Ballester show off their 3D printers.

download asset The Makers Behind GoFundMe  When Brad Damphousse and Andy  Ballester launched GoFundMe in 2010, they sought to create a crowdfunding site “for the rest of us,” one that made the process as easy as possible.

“We want to make it really easy to put money in your pocket,” says Brad. “GoFundMe doesn’t make users jump through a lot of hoops.”

He said most users can set up an account in 60 seconds or less and funds are available as they come in.

The company has been growing about 20 percent a month for the past year  and so far has attracted users raising funds for “life needs” such as weddings, medical expenses, and education. But now GoFundMe is looking to attract makers to their site with a new “all or nothing” funding option. They’ve partnered with MAKE to help spread the word.  Look for more details on this in January.

“It’s about empowering the nighttime and weekend makers and allowing them to develop their passion,” explains Brad.

It’s also about developing Brad and Andy’s passion, both of whom call themselves makers.

“I just received my Makerbot Replicator 2 less than a month ago,” says Brad. “Since then I’ve been re-learning Sketchup in hopes of producing some household safety products for kids. The car is my next frontier. So far, I’m on my 20th fully functioning iteration of a product I actually plan to bring to market through a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign in early 2013. Until then, it’s under wraps.”

Andy has been building Arduino projects for the past two years including a “water buddy,” a ring that fits around the neck of a water bottle neck and chimes when you aren’t drinking enough water throughout the day; an automated cat feeder with web cam, and an automatic plant watering device.

Andy is also a big fan of 3D printing. He’s going to 3D print a bust of his father’s head for Christmas on his Solidoodle 2, sand it down, and spray paint it to look like marble. He also makes soap, beer, and pickles.

As makers, they’re excited to see more projects for physical objects on GoFundMe, says Brad

“‘The next big thing’ is actually going to be a thing,” he says. “The rapid iteration and innovation we’ve seen contribute to the explosion of internet start-ups and mobile apps is making its way to tangible products thanks to 3D printers, desktop CNC machines and Arduino boards. Crowdfunding is helping makers bring their projects to life and their products to market.”

Stett Holbrook

Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.


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