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28 March 2010 ~ 1 Comment                                       

March Crowdsourcing Odds and Ends

CloudFab now in Open Beta
CloudFab recently launched into open beta, so you can now access their network of 3D printers. Just upload an STL file (a standard CAD file type) with a few instructions and specifications as to the printing process you are looking for and you will quickly get back quotes from shops that can handle your job. Of course, it’s more complex than that and you need to know what you’re doing, but it’s a great step forward in the availability and ease of 3D printing. I also found a similar service called Redeye Express. I am not sure what the differentiation between the two is, anyone care to explain?

Buy A Beer Company has secured $214 million in crowdfunded pledges to buy Pabst Brewing
Pretty amazing feat: 2 ad agencies got together to raise the $300 million necessary to buy the fine purveyors of Pabst Blue Ribbon via crowdfunded pledges. In return you get, essentially, the amount you pledged in beer. I question both the legality of this as well as the liklihood that if the total number is reached, pledgers will actually make good on their commitment. However, I still love the idea. If you can’t get enough of open sourced beer, a couple of years back Flying Dog created a crowdsourced beer. You can also make your own using the recipe and label for the open source “Free Beer”.

ThrustFund: A speculative, crowdsourced loan for social entrepreneurs.

Thrust Fund Entrepreneurs are looking for support to put their current ventures on paths to sustainability and to support them as they pursue new ventures. They are matched to Thrust Funders who are looking for meaningful opportunities that pay both social and financial dividends. Thrust Funders don’t acquire a portion of the Entrepreneur’s venture, however. The terms are individualized based on mutual trust and respect.

In exchange for providing funding for a social entrepreneur, you receive, generally, a percentage of the entrepreneur’s earnings over a period of years. Kooky? Yes. Risky? Yes. But also potentially beneficial to the world, so it’s got that going for it.

The MyFab Furniture buying processA new way to buy furniture with MyFab
MyFab squeezes the inefficiency out of the furniture supply chain using crowdvoting to determine what to make next. Only the most popular items are made available for pre-ordering and after a set period, myfab puts in an order for the exact amount preordered by customers. Items are then shipped directly to customers with prices for shipping ranging from $15 to $99 for a sofa (which sounds like a pretty sweet deal). They are only available in CA and several European countries right now but have plans to spread to the rest of the US soon. Not only are they perhaps filling a need for well designed products that customers wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise, but also selling these items hyper-efficiently leading to very low costs.

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