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Why Richard Branson invested in Indiegogo

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Richard Branson, entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group, says he would have started his business empire through crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo had the option been there in the past.

The British executive explained to sister site CNET in a Q&A session why he has decided to invest an undisclosed amount in Indiegogo this year, after the crowdfunding platform announced a $40 million second funding round in January.

Joining other high-profile investors including PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, vice president of Google X "Moonshot" project Megan Smith and Tim Draper, founding partner of venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Branson says the idea of investment appealed to him.

Indiegogo is one of the smaller players in crowdfunding, an area dominated by rival Kickstarter. The public can discover projects and business ideas which they would like to invest in -- everything from gadget development to city projects -- and donate funds to get the ideas off the ground. This gives budding entrepreneurs a potential funding source without having to beg the bank.

Branson says that as a young entrepreneur, he had "the same trouble getting funding that today's innovators, artists, and humanitarians face -- except they now have Indiegogo, which I certainly would have tried." If crowdfunding existed back then, Branson would have given it a shot -- rather than relying on his mother and aunt to help get his original companies off the ground.

When asked if crowdfunding would eventually lose its lustre, Branson said that it is a risk entrepreneurs have to face. However, the Virgin CEO also noted:

"The fun of Indiegogo is that people can discover projects that they are really passionate about and then play a role, big or small, in making it happen."

Read on: CNET

Image credit: Virgin

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— By on May 23, 2014, 2:21 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure