Taking the ax to the silo is Crowdtilt, a year-old crowdfunding company built by cofounders James Beshara, 26, and Khaled Hussein, 28. This morning, the San Francisco startup released the first full-service crowdfunding API, allowing developers to plug a customizable crowdfunding tool into any application. “Crowdfunding seems like a played-out term,” says Beshara, Crowdtilt’s CEO, “but we think it’s at the very beginning of being the next web phenomenon.”
Early partners include Vayable, a fellow Y Combinator startup that helps travelers book tours on vacation. The company will announce a quartet of better-known partners when the API is released in production in early January. (Today’s is a beta release.) Crowdtilt will take a 1% cut of payments collected through the software.
The unleashing of a fully-baked crowdfunding API into the wider web will likely have widespread and unexpected consequences. Beshara rattled off some examples of how the software can be used:
- Nike could release 10,000 limited edition jerseys to be sold at 20% off if sales pass a certain threshold, say 7500 jerseys.
- Airbnb could let six people chip in for the same booking at checkout.
- Williams-Sonoma could help gift-givers split the cost of expensive items.
- Entrepreneurs can test real demand, and collect startup capital, for hypothetical products through their own custom sites without giving up customer data and high fees to Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
- Under upcoming JOBS Act provisions, companies could raise equity-based funds from the public in large chunks of up to $10,000.