When is a crowdfunding project a scam, vs a normal project run by humans?

There’s a new wave of crowdfunding efforts in the last year or so, changing the dynamic in a sense. There are some reasons to be concerned about pitfalls in your crowdfunding adventure, but other reasons not to be.

Let’s take a look.

Disclosure: While I have backed over 90 crowdfunded projects across platforms (not including projects that did not “finish” and thus took none of my money) in the past 10 years, and I have had professional relationships with two of the companies mentioned here (VAVA and ZMI), nothing in this post has been reviewed or approved or otherwise influenced by them or any other company or entity. For the crowdfunding projects, they took my money like everyone else’s, and delivered the products like everyone else’s.

A not-so-brief history of crowdfunding

It used to be that a designer or developer or artist would come up with an idea they couldn’t get commercially adopted, post a crowd-funded campaign on Indiegogo or Kickstarter, and hope to make enough money to produce it on their own. This led to some amazing projects and companies.