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People-powered financing

UNITY is strength — gathering a group of people for a common cause brings about unexpected results, and this also applies in the financial sense.

This is also the concept of Mystartr, the company behind one of the country’s first crowdfunding websites.

"The Internet brings people from all over the world together and it makes crowdfunding easier. Mystartr wants to do this for people with a dream so that they can eventually pay it back to society," said chief executive officer Goh Boon Peng.

This business model can help people involved in arts and culture especially. Our country has a pool of talent in these fields, but they lack the funds to realise their creations. The conventional method is to look for sponsors, but how many sponsors are there, and how many creative people can these sponsors support? That’s why Mystartr wants to provide an alternative,” said the 41-year-old.

Goh who used to be in charge of e-commerce development at tea company Purple Cane Group said the tea businesses also started with funding from 17 shareholders 28 years ago.

In 2011, Purple Cane founder Lim Hock Lam also used the same method to gather RM930,000 from 108 people to help INXO Arts and Culture bring Gloud Gate Theatre from Taiwan to perform in Malaysia.


Goh believes crowd funding can help people in many fields, especially those involved in arts and culture.

Goh explained that Mystartr is not a non-profit organisation.

“Our business model is that we provide the platform and charge a service fee,” he said.

He said there are two types of proposals — Fixed and Flexible. In the first method, the project has to raise a fixed amount of funds.

If they cannot meet their target, they will need to give the money back to those who have pledged funds.

As for the latter, they can still proceed even if the targeted amount is not met.

“At the end of the day, the recipients of funding should pay back to their investors when their dreams come true,” Goh said, urging those seeking funding to come up with some products that can generate income so that they can eventually reward their investors.

He said Mystartr is the first in the country to implement the concept, and had the most number of success cases.

“Our crowdfunding attempt can be up to 60 days for a project, and the highest we have generated is RM14,000. Our next target is RM20,000, and even RM100,000 in the near future,” he said.

Apart from the crowdfunding platform, Goh also tries to encourage more dream makers by inviting achievers to share their stories in workshops organised under an effort called Dream Factory.

“Pursuing one’s dream can be a lonely journey, but do remember that you are not alone,” he said, adding that the workshops create opportunities for like-minded people to meet and that may spark new ideas.

From an employer with Purple Cane to now running his own business, Goh said it was not as easy as he anticipated.

“You have to change your mentality altogether. A salaryman can just quit if they think they are in the wrong job, but in business, once you get it started you do not have that privilege as you need to face your employees and clients.

He said some people do quit, thinking that it is the easiest way out, but that would not add value to one’s life and the time put in would be wasted.

“On one’s journey to success, only 1% depends on one’s skill and the rest lies in the attitude. If there’s something you do not know in the running of the business, you can learn it. But if you do not have the will to persevere, you are likely to fail,” he added.

People-powered financing. (2014, June 14). Retrieved May 17, 2015, from financing&sec=business&id={1AABCA57-F41F-4BA1-B8F2-F90821AA7755}