1870 Mag

The Billion Effect

Local startup seeks to change the crowdfunding game

Using crowdfunding for a potentially great idea can be a risky prospect. As the creator of said idea, you have to rely heavily on a stellar marketing campaign or get by on sheer luck. As a backer, you have to trust that the concept is going to actually come to fruition.

Enter Columbus team Billion, a startup that came together just this past April after winning first place and $4000 in seed funding at GiveBackHack. But this isn’t just Kickstarter 2.0. Billion’s eponymous bracket tournament style crowdfunding site is aimed at giving back to the community.

“The global community can choose who wins by donating to the movement of their choosing,” said CEO and Founder Eileen Guan. “Through each iteration, the movement with the most funds raised moves on. The funds from the losing movements are then reallocated to another movement of the donor’s choosing. We want to combine the power of competition and crowdfunding to make a huge impact on the globe.”

But while Billion has its long-term eye set on global initiatives and solutions, its initial phase will focus solely on C-Bus.

“Our first iteration of Billion will be Billion Columbus, so we are looking for any idea that will impact the Columbus community,” Guan said. “There’s something special about Columbus. I don’t think there’s a better place for Billion to grow.”

A valid concern for some regarding this unique tournament style of crowdfunding is what happens to the monetary funds if the project that was initially backed doesn’t advance.

“[Backers] will be given the choice to decide where their money can be reallocated to,” Guan said. “The donors stay involved from the beginning to the end. The idea is that from the beginning, you are contributing to the overall ‘Billion Fund’ that will end up going to some movement that impacts the most people.”

In other words, as a backer your donation will go towards funding an idea, just maybe not your first pick. The rationale for this is that whatever idea comes out on top will still be a worthwhile cause that everyone can get behind.

Billion certainly has been busy getting the word out, appearing at various events around Columbus, including for Columbus Society of Communicating Arts, SunDown RunDown, WakeUpStartUp, Girl Develop It and CivicHacks, among others. The team at Billion has a simple goal to organize as many people and gather as many great ideas as it can.

“We have a team of movement seekers that are constantly setting up meet-ups with entrepreneurs and organizations around Columbus to try to spread the word as much as possible.” Guan said.

Sept. 1, Billion will be partnering with the Independents Day Festival and will be conducting beta testing for its site, billioneffect.com. Pitches will be accepted starting June 30.

Adam Ambro

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