BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – Coloradans are turning their million-dollar ideas into reality with funding help from complete strangers, but the strangers don't leave the deal empty-handed.
Mario Lurig has turned his sweet tooth into a sweet success. He owns Dice Candies in Broomfield. His business is a dream come true, and the reality of how he funded it is more than he could have hoped for.
"By the end of the entire crowdfunding campaign I had raised $16,000," Lurig said.
Crowdfunding floats a business idea on the Internet and strangers can send in money to help the aspiring entrepreneur get started. Lurig now ships candy in the shape of dice all over the world.
"Crowdfunding is asking a lot of people for a little bit of money that you can aggregate to achieve some purpose," Ray Burrasca with Colorado Crowdfunding Meetup said.
Crowdfunding meetings occur monthly in Colorado where people come with business ideas.
Samuel Giles came up with a smart watch that will control a car remotely, and Amada Cavaleri is trying to start a nonprofit.
"I donated $25 and I got first access to see the video in return as my reward," said Leigh Lepore, who made a donation to help back a folk singer who wanted to make a music video.
Lepore loved the experience.
"Us as individuals being able to influence what goes to market or what gets created," Lepore said.
The meetings are a small part of crowdfunding. Most of it is done online with people never meeting one another.
"Basically the crowd vets the people who are asking for money," Burrasca said. "You have people constantly looking at your campaign, constantly looking at your business, your product."
The way crowdfunding currently works is backers don't own a piece of what they're supporting. They simply trust that they'll get a piece of whatever the business creates. Lurig paid back his backers in what he does best -- chocolate.
The crowdfunding industry raised $2.7 billion in 2012 across a million campaigns, according to Massolution's recent Crowdfunding Industry Report. According to the report, the number is expected to grow as crowdfunding enters the mainstream and American equity-based platforms get the go-ahead from the Security and Exchange Commission.
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