How Crowdfunding Empowers a New Storytelling Generation - Slava Rubin

In Chapter 10 of 12 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, IndieGoGo co-founder and entrepreneur Slava Rubin answers "How is Crowdfunding Empowering a New Generation of Storytellers?" Rubin shares how the rise of online payments and social media sharing have sparked new ways to finance passion projects. From cause supporters to business creators to artists, Rubin finds fulfillment seeing his company, IndieGoGo, provide them means to make dreams come true. Rubin is co-founder and CEO of, a crowdfunding startup whose platform helps individuals and groups finance their passions. Before IndieGoGo, Rubin worked in management consulting for Diamond Consulting, now a PWC company. Rubin founded and manages non-profit Music Against Myeloma to raise funds and awareness to fight cancer. He earned a BBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Erik Michielsen:  How is crowd funding empowering a new generation of storytellers?

Slava Rubin:  You know, ten years ago, even five years ago, you have no YouTube; you have no Facebook; you have no MySpace; you have no Twitter.  You barely have attachments in emails.  You don’t really have as much transaction happening via credit card.  You definitely do not have the word ‘Obama’ being used anywhere.  And it’s just incredible that just in a number of years you start taking all these trends and resources, you put them into one place, and you create a platform like IndieGoGo, which allows anybody to raise money for absolutely anything.  And now you find out that if you give them these tools, everybody in the world is passionate.  Everybody in the world wants to create a campaign or fund a campaign.  It’s just not so easy for them to do that.  Now with IndieGoGo, we provide them those tools, and now all of a sudden, all these musicians, video game artists, business creators, cause supporters are making incredible, incredible stuff, and it’s just a world of validation, and now they can follow their dreams.  

We have a great example of that with Elaine Zelker, a mom in Pennsylvania with three kids.  She is a registered nurse and really focused on her day-to-day job, so that she can provide for the family with her husband.  And she’s always wanted to be in photography but never took that risk.  She gets on IndieGoGo, raises money, creates this gallery in a photo book, she gets exposure, and now is on Good Morning, America. Gets on Good Morning, America.  People see it left and right.  She gets a major agent from New York to wanna push out her book.  So now she has gone from, you know, super conservative, registered nurse of Pennsylvania to somebody who has thousands of dollars to do her photography that she loves, turning in to her business, and now has an agent out of New York.  It’s just incredible as you see people following their passions and that IndieGoGo can support those dreams.

Erik Michielsen:  And how did that make you feel to be part of that?

Slava Rubin:  I love it.  The coolest thing about IndieGoGo is different than just a, should we say, ‘search engine’, or maybe a regular e-commerce site, or even some whiz-bang amazing stuff that’s happening here at South-by, people love using IndieGoGo.  It becomes part of them and their fabric.  They get the emails when they get the money and it says you got money, and it’s just so exciting ‘cause it’s just little bricks being added to their foundation of a dream, and it’s awesome.