SOURCE: First Funder

First Funder

September 14, 2012 08:00 ET

First Funder Launches First Partner-Based Crowdfunding Platform

Startup Helps Communities Fund Businesses That Fund Communities

BOULDER, CO--(Marketwire - Sep 14, 2012) - First Funder today launched a new crowdfunding platform which is the first to leverage the power of partners and their communities. Drawing on the community approach that has powered microlending websites like, First Funder partners with entrepreneurship programs and other community-based organizations. With this model, First Funder is hoping to address many of the trust-related concerns that have plagued the crowdfunding industry for years.

The First Funder platform is built on trust and quality control. There are no one-off campaigns on First Funder. Each campaign is sponsored by a trusted community organization. First Funder links all of the communities together so that a member of one trusted community can browse any other trusted community to find and fund the initiatives that matter most to them. First Funder is launching with the capabilities to support donation based crowdfunding, and will support equity based in the future once the JOBS Act is finalized.

"Our purpose-built platform allows our crowdfunding partners to use the First Funder website to cost-effectively gain support from their unique constituent bases or groups and tap into much larger audiences," said Jonathan Beninson, CEO, First Funder. "We help our partners build sustainable communities so that everyone involved in a crowdfunding transaction wins."

First Funder allows its funders to help in a variety of ways -- including championing and evangelizing a cause or community they believe in, and providing capital to help launch businesses as well as to grow and expand them. Each partner is given a branded portal on the First Funder website through which they can fund themselves and their initiatives.

"As a group focused on fostering youth business owners ages 6-21, we are excited to begin offering the power of crowdfunding for our participants," said Rich Martinez, President and CEO of Young Americans Center for Financial Education. "With First Funder, our young entrepreneurs will not only learn about alternative means to fund their business dreams, they can experience firsthand how small funds can enable big growth."

First Funder is the brainchild of Kevin Zell and Brendan Karp -- both 18 -- who developed the idea for the company while members of DECA in high school, a group aimed at preparing emerging leaders and entrepreneurs around the world. Beninson is also a former high school entrepreneur and advisor to multiple startups with more than 15 years of management and operating experience. 

The donation-based First Funder crowdfunding platform will support equity based funding in the future. First Funder is launching with around one dozen community partners on board, including Greenlite Labs, the Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute and Young Americans Center for Financial Education.

"Going forward, crowdfunding will be an essential service that business accelerators offer to their portfolio companies. As a new accelerator focused on startups at the intersection of web technology and sustainability, Greenlite Labs is excited to partner with FirstFunder to engage our community and to fund businesses with sustainable impact," said Duer Reeves, Managing Director of Greenlite Labs.

About First Funder
First Funder is the industry's first partner-based crowdfunding platform. First and foremost, First Funder's vision is to bring communities together around new projects and ideas through crowdfunding. Launched in Fall 2012, First Funder's partners include universities, incubators, accelerators and national entrepreneurship programs that can uniquely leverage the power of their communities to fund projects through First Funder. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, First Funder is privately held and backed today by angel investors including Joseph Zell, General Partner with Grotech Ventures, Boulder business icon Nancy Pierce, and advertising veteran John Daltner. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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