Name of initiative: Crowdculture
Type of initiative: Crowdfunding platform for cultural projects (television programs, videogames, digital/interactive productions)
Developed by: Fabel Kommunikation
Funding partners: The Foundation of Innovative Culture (part of the funding portfolio of the City of Stockholm) and Vinnova (Sweden’s innovation agency)
Country: Sweden
Launched: 2011, still in operation
Source of funds: Several Swedish regional funds (9 out of a total 21) invest as “institutional members” to the tune of 1% to 5% of their cultural budget, while individual investors contribute private funds.
Projects that have received funding: 153
Amount of funding per project: Between 10,000 SEK ($1,500) and 45,000 SEK ($7,000)
Registration fees: To be able to upload projects to the platform, creators must pay a membership fee of roughly $7.60 per month. Those who wish to contribute to funding campaigns can make direct donations to a given project without any additional commitment or they can subscribe to the platform for the same monthly fee. Members have the added benefit of being able to manage their donations, i.e., make regular donations to a project or support several campaigns at once through the platform.

How are Crowdculture projects funded?

When they upload their project to the site, creators must establish a specific objective, i.e., an amount of money to be raised within a maximum 120-day timeframe. Like many other crowdfunding platforms, projects must reach this target in order to be able to draw on the funds received. If they fall short, the monies involved are redistributed to other cultural projects on Crowdculture.

Crowdculture’s stroke of genius lies in the innovative way it brings together individual investors and state funds. For one, this gives everyone the opportunity to support the project of their choice through private donations. For another, it serves as a portal for redistributing public funds from regional cultural budgets, using a voting system that favours projects with the highest level of public support.

Each fund can determine its own project eligibility criteria. For example, a fund can select a geographical region where it wishes to promote cultural production or a specific content format or type, such as documentaries with an environmental theme. Creators apply the same criteria to submit a project to Crowdculture. Using these “tags,” the platform then matches up complementary projects and funds.

Companies or individuals can start up a private investment fund using their own contribution, to which their partners then add their investments. These funds must also set out eligibility criteria for potential recipients.

Creators have a degree of flexibility when it comes to the type of funding allocated to their project. They can, if they so choose, opt to decline public funding and accept donations only from individual investors.

Granting of public funds

Members of the public can vote for their favourite projects and/or make direct donations. Each project is given a weighted popularity ranking based on budget size. Public funds are then invested in the projects that have met their fundraising target through a mix of private investments and public votes.

Successful Crowdculture projects adhere in every respect to the principles of crowdfunding. Projects that achieve their established objective by the end of the 120-day timeframe are the ones that receive the donations made by the public and investment funds.

Crowdculture is a hybrid system that provides an “à la carte” approach to funding cultural projects, by linking sources of funding together and submitting projects to members of the platform for their verdict.

A platform dedicated exclusively to culture

The platform’s terms of use specify that submitted projects must create “something that goes beyond their creator,” meaning that the concept should do more than promote personal talent: it should contribute to an overall cultural development strategy. Crowdculture has therefore quickly evolved into a preferred platform for content creators’ projects.

A new model in regional cultural development

Crowdculture takes a unique approach to the funding of smaller cultural industries, by making it possible to link what the general public wants to how state funds are allocated to cultural projects. In addition, by providing members with the opportunity to establish their own investment funds, Crowdculture is positioning itself as a new form of philanthropic giving and cultural patronage.

The official figures show that half of the 400 projects submitted have received funding, thereby giving the next generation of creators a showcase for their talents and an opportunity to access hard-to-find funds for their first projects.