Here Fred Wilson blogs about how he went from being thoroughly dismissive to a huge buyer of how CrowdRise is disrupting the way charities raise money.
In November 2010 my friend Shana Fisher sent me an email suggesting I meet Edward Norton about his crowdfunding site for charities, called CrowdRise. I was pretty dismissive in my response to Shana. I told her that USV was “all in” on Kickstarter and we did not want to invest in anything that was too close to them. And though I did not mention it to Shana, I was also wondering how someone like Edward could manage being an entrepreneur in combination with all of the other things he does. But Shana is persistent. I took the breakfast which was at Pain Quotidien on 5th Avenue and 8th Street. I walked into that breakfast a skeptic and came out a believer. Edward impressed me with his commitment to making it easier to raise funds for charities and causes. And he impressed me with his knowledge of startups and technology. In the three+ years since, I have recommended CrowdRise to everyone who asks me where to crowdfund for charities. Last fall, we met again for breakfast. This time at Maialino. And Edward told me they had an incredible year in 2013 and had recently been approached by a buyer who wanted to acquire CrowdRise. I told him “absolutely not”. So Edward said “what would you do if you were me?” and I replied “I would raise a big round from top notch VCs and grow CrowdRise into the crowdfunding platform for charities”.