"In a world where everybody is funding everything, the role of gatekeeper will become obsolete," she told Wired.co.uk at Web Summit 2012. "Who's to say who should be able to raise money and who should not? We don't believe it's anybody's right to make that decision. In that world you want a system where the cream rises to the top based on meritocratic reasons, not someone's biased opinions. We're in the business of truly democratising funding."
Because of this mentality, Indiegogo -- which now has a presence in more than 200 countries -- has given us the delights of the Bug-a-Salt and the Tesla museum, but also raised money to give a Congolese pastor a kidney transplant.
Successful campaigner Cathy Pearson, who directed and produced a film about picture editor John G Morris, spent around three months putting her pitch together for Indiegogo and raised 40 percent of her film's total budget.
Joining Ringelmann on stage at Web Summit, Pearson said she hoped for a day when broadcasters would see the platform as a legitimate funding source. In the meantime, absolutely anything (legal) can be pitched on the site.
Using the "gogo factor" -- a proprietary algorithm that measures the activity in a campaign and drives the placements of projects on the site according to that data -- a campaign's ongoing success or lack of is immediately clear. Ringelmann calls it the "cream rising to the top", and it's part of the transparency that allows the project to be truly democratic.
But how can a campaign nab that desirable homepage spot? Ringelmann says the company has gathered five years of data to know "what matters and what doesn't" when it comes to a successful campaign strategy, and the team have nailed the key factors, including the four Ps (more on that later). Here are her tips on how to get the gogo factor.
Have a very clear and transparent funding goal and deadline
Ask yourself: how much do you need to raise, by when and what's it for? Be very transparent and specific with your use of funds. You do not need to raise 100 percent of your budget to start your company all in one campaign. You just need to be very specific with how much you are raising right now and how far that money should get you in your project. A target that's too big either represents a dollar amount that the campaign owner would not know how to spend, has not explicitly outlined the total use of funds or maybe are not ready to hit based on the current size of their network.
Consider breaking up your funding into stages
We've seen projects come back with multiple campaigns to fund their project at different phases. And it behooves people to break down their total funding needs into chunks. It's more manageable and hitting your goal means you're executing what you said you would. That only sets you for greater success for the next funding campaign.
Film a great (and revealing) campaign video
Campaigns that have videos on average raise 114 percent more than those that don't. But you need to personalise your story. Don't just talk about what your project or product is, but why it's important and why you're the right person to do it. People need to look into your eyes and see your passion to be prepared to part with wealth because people fund people. You have to really open up.
Offer people an exciting give-back
Offer different perks at all different levels. Offer three to eight different ones -- too much overwhelms, too few doesn't excite. 92 percent of campaigns that reach their goal offered perks. Have fun with them -- make them exclusive and unique. I was looking at the Don Rosa campaign -- he's a comic artist famous for doing Scrooge and Donald Duck -- and he has a new comic book and one of the perks was a video tour of him round his house. That's pretty personal.
Be proactive in getting the word out
Use social media and email. We've layered in a lot of those tools -- funders will be prompted to tweet out and put it on Facebook, and that will amplify your word of mouth campaign. But be proactive and use the updates. Campaigns that use them every one to five days raise 100 percent more money than those that don't. Updates can be anything from video updates to talking about the progress of the campaign or the project itself. If one of the perks is T-shirt designs, ask them to vote for what colour they want -- engage your audience to get people more invested.
And keep communicating, even if something goes wrong
Funders fund based on their own confidence and we encourage funders to do their due diligence -- but sometimes things go wrong anyway, and constant communication helps in these cases. One campaign, set to launch a flying disco ball at Burning Man, ultimately couldn't follow through because of bad weather. But because they did a good job updating funders along the way it was okay. We send folks reminders automatically to say you've not talked to your funders lately.
Make your early audience validate you
This is where the first 30 percent of your funding is really important. We encourage people to soft launch their campaigns and get the first 20-30 percent of funds from people that know them and can validate them. Once that happens, do a hard launch and start to reach out to friends of friends, bloggers or influencers. Again, once people start to fund you they'll be prompted to tweet you and naturally and organically their friends of friends will start to discover it -- that's how you amplify your campaign. We see that campaigns that raise the first 30-40 percent from people they know before stranger dollars start to come in reach their targets. Think about it, my mother would probably be much more likely to invest in me first than she would be to put money into the stranger she just met on the street -- but she would fund the stranger if she knew I had. It's the social application that's happening and the credibility thing. The transparency of the web is allowing people to fly much farther than ever before.
And the four Ps… We've seen over the last five years that there's five reasons anyone funds anything in the world, anytime, and that's passion, perks, participation and pride.
There's this campaign that was raising money for Pastor Marion. He is known as the Schindler of the Congo and has been saving lives for a decade and his life came under attack last year and his kidneys started to fail. So two reporters took it upon themselves to raise money to send him to South Africa and get his kidney transplant paid for. They reached out to all the readers who had been following the story for the last decade and they were passionate about doing good and had informed them for so many years.
We've already been over this, but as an example one campaigner at Indiegogo was a 3D printer maker who didn't have the funds to prototype his product and get it to market, so he pre-offered units as a way to raise $160,000. A lot of people that funded it wanted that 3D printer.
People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. A film called Salaam Dunk about the positive impact basketball is making in young girls' lives in Iraq. When I was a young girl I played basketball and it had a huge positive impact on my life and confidence so while I can't quit my day job and volunteer for this film or help teach basketball to girls in Iraq, I can participate in the movement by funding this film.
This comes in all forms, but the biggest one is recognition. People like to be known for doing stuff. We've seen the Karen Klein campaign -- the bus monitor who got bullied on a bus. Someone saw it online and wanted to do something about that and send her on a vacation. You could see all the people excitedly commenting and announcements that they were the tenth funder, or the 25th. They felt involved and they're early-in and discovered it first. It was the same thing with the Tesla campaign, which raised $1.2m (£750,000).
This is actually the fifth P that doesn't exist at Indiegogo. But that could become legal soon with the Jobs Act -- we totally helped that happen by writing case studies to White House senators to make that decision. We'll take a look when the regulations come out to see what it is. I generally think the reasons people fund are multiple, and when you introduce profit it doesn't mean all the motivation will shift to that side. I definitely think that there's a dynamic flow of motivations coming into play every time somebody contributes.