ChipIn.com (ChipIn Inc) was founded in 2005 by Carnet Williams and Mike Hirshland as an online fundraising service that also became a widget and application developer for other businesses. In March 2013, the firm announced that it would be bringing its activities to a close, with no more accounts of fundraising activities.
ChipIn technology comprised a nifty crowdfunding widget, rather than a platform, that allowed campaigners to post a badge on their website or Facebook page so they could get their supporters to contribute funds for a selected cause or event. Users could start fundraising campaigns for all kinds of events, from charitable projects, like raising money for a cause, to private events, like pooling funds for a wedding ceremony.
In the period between January 2006 and January 2010, ChipIn had managed to raise a total of $6.16 million equity funding in 3 rounds from 3 investors. The then Honolulu-based firm received its seed funding in early 2006 from CommerceNet, followed by a $5 million Series B funding from both Global Venture Capital and Polaris Partners in June 2008.
The firm launched its Web service in November 2006, while the Facebook app that used PayPal’s engine was launched in June the following year, 2007. At first, ChipIn operated as a full-service payments company, holding and managing funds for their users. But after facing a lot of challenges, the company outsourced all PayPal related payments.
How it works
Although ChipIn was more of a crowdfunding tool than a platform, users were still required to create a ChipIn account. To create the widget, users were prompted to provide the name of the project; the fundraising target; the date when the campaign would close; and the PayPal account email address.
Users could then add the widget to their website, blog, and social networking sites, including MySpace, NetVibes, WordPress, Blogger, and much more. The appeal of this crowdfunding tool was how easy it made collecting money from supporters.
To create the Chipin widget on Facebook, users needed to select a Facebook event, set the fundraising goal, and then personalize the text and colors of the widget. To contribute, supporters clicked on the “chip in” button to launch a PayPal window, input the amount to pay, and then log in to PayPal to complete the transaction. There was a progress bar on the widget to indicate progress towards the goal.
The only charges associated with ChipIn were the fees charged by PayPal for handling the financial transaction. Funds were processed as they were received, with zero waiting times associated with the “all-or-nothing” model.
Impactful Campaigns included:
The Future of ChipIn.com
We are excited to announce that the platform will be ready for relaunch soon, so stay tuned for more information!