Business Crowdfunding Platform

Published on May 24th, 2012 | by Priti Ambani

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Crowdfunding Platform: Swap-O-Matic Aims to Become A Mascot of The New Sharing Economy

Crowdfunding Platform is a new series on Ecopreneurist that aims to help crowdfunding campaigns that have a clear environmental or social focus. Want to feature your campaign? Get the deets here!
Project: SWAP-O-MATIC

What is your project all about?

The Swap-O-Matic is a vending machine that allows users to swap and trade, rather than buy. It’s currently located at Ample Hills Creamery, an ice cream shop in Brooklyn, NY.  Each of the donated items in the machine is free and there is no charge for using the Swap-O-Matic – just simply sign up with your email. The basic currency for a transaction is a “credit”. Credit is earned when the user donates an item, and a credit is required to retrieve an item from the machine. All new users receive 3 credits to start. Users can donate, receive, or swap using the touch screen interface on the front of the machine. Other features, such as a user flag system, are included to prevent misuse and provide occasional curation of the machine.

The current machine has a touch screen interface with digital locks. Since putting the Swap-O-Matic at Ample Hills, we’ve received some great press and numerous responses from Brooklyn to around the world, praising our idea and hoping to see more machines in other cities and towns.  We hope to make that a reality through our first crowdfunding effort, by creating at least 5 redesigned and re-engineered Swap-O-Matics with sustainable materials, enhanced functionality and features, and an online/mobile community to connect them and their users together.

Why is your project relevant? 

This project co-ops the form of a vending machine, which is usually associated with instant gratification and convenient consumption, to promote a more sustainable alternative to buying things new…part of the new sharing economy, if you will.  The Swap-O-Matic is intended to inspire all of us to rethink our consumption habits, strive for conscious consumption, and consider more sustainable methods such as trading and reusing goods.

The machine’s retro design and user-friendly interface makes the Swap-O-Matic a powerful, iconic symbol that gets people excited and talking about their own personal consumption habits. On a much larger scale, the ultimate goal is for the Swap-O-Matic to inspire a movement, affecting change for large numbers of people and communities as trading and reusing re-emerges as a means for increasing local sustainability, reducing waste, and reigning in overconsumption.

How do you plan to accomplish that? We seek Kickstarter funding to accomplish:

1) The Research and Development phase of building a new Swap-O-Matic with updated features, hardware and sustainable materials.

2) An accompanying web and mobile site to support the newly designed Swap-O-Matic and bring the interaction online.

3) The building, shipping, and installation of 5 Swap-O-Matics to cities and locations voted on by supporters of the project!

Here are some of the highlights of the new features we plan on implementing:

1. Ability to attach messaging with items, so you can send a personal message to the recipient of your item.

2. Integration with social media.

3. Ability to rate your swap finds.

4. See a running list of all items that have ever been swapped.

5. Ability to take a photo of your item at the machine and view it online.

6. Ability to opt-in to get email updates when items get swapped

And much more to be fine-tuned during our R&D phase.

Link:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1995501693/the-swap-o-matic-project

Financial Goal and Deadline

$135,000 – June 17th

Your final pitch

We’ve seen the excitement from users of the Swap-O-Matic – from the children who love the iconic look while learning about sharing and trading, to adults who love the conscious consumption message it stands for, to store owners and companies who see what this machine can add to their business and foot traffic. Those who haven’t seen it, want to see it and experience it, and would love to have one in their city or town.  In a world with growing overconsumption, The Swap-O-Matic is a great way to remind people how important it is to reuse and share the items they have, and inspire others to do the same. Help us to fund this project, make the Swap-O-Matic better, and spread the machines and message even farther!



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About the Author

Hi there! I am Priti and I specialize in strategy and communications for impact organizations that aim to create social, environmental and economic wealth for all stakeholders. Working from the ground up, I help these do-gooders craft effective programs for community engagement, outreach and profitability. Follow my work covering do-gooders, cleanweb, start-ups and Web 2.0 businesses on Ecopreneurist and at Crowdsourcing Week. I enjoy traveling with my boys, cooking up a gourmet meal from scratch and entertaining! Join my community for Social Entrepreneurs on G+ Follow me on Twitter, on LinkedIn and Google+



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