A Tinder-style app called The Crowd has launched that lets students, faculty and staff at universities pitch their business ideas to investors.
The Crowd platform lets investors set selection criteria for the types of ideas they would be interested in and swipe through prospective business partners.
Budding entrepreneurs submit a 60-second pitch video, which the investors watch and can then swipe right if they are interested.
Just like the mobile dating app Tinder, a swipe left moves the user on to the next possibility.
Levelling the playing field in investment
Bill Johnson, former global deputy and America’s head of asset management at Credit Suisse said:
“The Crowd levels the playing field so that everyone on earth has equal access to a global network of investors. It’s no longer about who you know, now it’s only about the quality of your thinking, and your ability to perform.”
Bob Hellman, former president at Stanford’s department of athletics, physical education and recreation investment fund said:
“The Crowd slashes the time and cost of finding amazing new business ideas, and for people with great ideas but previously without access to resources, they are now allowed into the game.”
An idea for the Dragon’s Den
The Crowd was founded by Noor Sugrue who found inspiration watching a Dragon’s Den style American television show about investment in new companies.
The story is: “Given a chance, Noor and her family wanted to invest in some of the deals on the TV show.”
She felt that many good ideas were passed up or not given competitive offers.
For entrepreneurs, the benefit of The Crowd is that connections and background, or getting a slot on a TV programme, no longer controls a person’s ability to find investment.
The Crowd has also launched a competition called the Global University Challenge for students, faculty and staff at 101 universities to pitch their ideas to investors at a Chicago business fundraiser.
The 101 universities eligible to participate in The Crowd are worldwide and include big names like École Polytechnique, Harvard University and Imperial College London.