The crowdfunding boss inspired by her parents' struggles

While many of us have a lot to thank our parents for, Danae Ringelmann credits hers with inspiring her to help establish a new global industry.

Ms Ringelmann is one of the three co-founders of Indiegogo, one of the world’s first – and now one of the largest – crowdfunding websites.

Every day 8,000 small firms or individuals around the planet use Indiegogo to try to raise funds from members of the public to support their business idea or other project.

In return for their money, the investors or “crowd” receive a reward later down the line, such as getting their hands on a new gadget before its widespread release.

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I vented for about 20 to 30 minutes, crying, talking about how unfair the world was, that America was [only] the land of opportunity if you knew the right people”

Danae Ringelmann

From an almost unknown concept just a decade ago, crowdfunding is now for many small companies a viable alternative to seeking bank loans or shareholders.

For Ms Ringelmann, 35, the inspiration came from remembering the endless funding struggles her mother and father faced running their storage and removals company.

“I grew up the daughter of two small-business owners,” she says. “Essentially I watched them struggle for 30 years to grow the business.

“They bootstrapped for 30 years, which means they were never able to get any kind of outside financing or a loan of any kind. The business was too slow growing and non-sexy, and they just didn’t know the right people.

“I just grew up with that awareness… that funding opportunities for small firms were not fair.”

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