Rua: The Brazilian answer to funding art and sport through direct donations or tax contributions
This post originally appeared on blog.up.co
Alexandre is co-founder of Rua where he heads Product Management.
He has worked in venture capital with Ion Ventures and with Visa International in the US and Europe leading its corporate venturing and innovation efforts.
He has also worked at UBS in Switzerland where he led product development for its financial information service. He has Expertise in venture investments and partnerships in the mobile payments, e-Commerce, micropayment and holds an MBA - University of Zurich
Crowdfunding is a very hot topic, what’s your take on it?
I head Product Management at Rua, which is a platform for the Brazilian culture, Sport, and social impact sector to crowdfund projects, build online communities and share content.
Rua enables project producers to fund exciting and viable campaigns across Brazil based on crowd selection. Uniquely, we integrate corporate social responsibility goals of major organizations with the platform to align with strategically important cultural and impact projects.
Why do we need Rua?
The core problem Rua solves is the chronic under funding of the culture, sports, and impact sectors. To achieve this, we have innovated around the following few areas:
- Rua has automated underutilized tax incentives to allow individuals to easily invest in culture and sport projects – essentially unlocking latent ‘capital’ for people to contribute to projects (thus overcoming a key barrier for crowd funding adoption in emerging markets)
- Our CSR application allows companies and its employees to use their collective tax incentives to invest in projects that are most important to them or meet strategic marketing goals
- Our portal integrates crowd funding with strong content and community tools allowing a genuine place for sharing, collaborating and transacting based on customization – we strongly believe this moves users away from transaction apathy to deeper engagement for users
- Rua has also leveraged digital tools and techniques to foster greater entrepreneurship among project producers – ultimately making them more attuned to the needs of their audiences
Rua’s platform offers a more efficient and automated funding process to artists and funders whether through direct donations or tax contributions and fundamentally democratizes access to the culture and sports sector at a time of rising citizen aspirations in Brazil.
Who can use it and what for?
Rua's customers fall into three key categories:
- Project producers with exciting projects seeking funding – whether they are emerging artists, engaged in sports, or social entrepreneurs seeking impact
- Organizations seeking to link CSR or sustainability goals with aligned projects across the digital sphere - and possibly in conjunction with their employees
- Individuals looking to support projects or communities important to them - with an option to financially support projects through donations or tax incentives
How does it work?
Rua aggregates multiple funding sources from people and companies to invest in exciting projects across Brazil. Through linking donations and automated tax incentives, Rua unlocks latent capital to fund projects, which reduces a key market barrier to CF adoption in emerging markets like Brazil. However, our vision is to link this capacity to unlock capital with a strong UX on the portal through what we term the ‘3C’ model – crowdfunding, community, and content as we believe crowdfunding needs to move beyond a transaction site. The automation, coupled with the 3C model is the basis of our differentiation and will hopefully make Rua the portal of choice for users, organizations and project producers in the Brazilian culture, sports, and social impact sectors.
We have intelligently embedded the fundamentals of crowd funding architecture into a highly differentiated portal for the Brazilian marketplace, and extended this into a rules-based system to enable organizations to customize around their CSR and marketing objectives. Our proprietary data analytics and predictive tools were built in-house following the analysis of over many similar projects over the past few decades. Crucially, we leverage well adopted social media tools and content management applications to customize for our customers.
We haven't launched yet, but this is how it will look like:
What drove you and your team to create Rua?
Passion will get you where you want. The interesting dynamic within Rua is the combined team skills – with an average age of circa 40 we bring a wealth of truly global experience from arts, technology, social impact, strategic consulting, and innovation, and an eclectic mix of interests ranging from philosophy, logic, language acquisition, photography, to sailing and singing! This bizarre mix of life experiences has given birth to a common vision for Rua.
Like many founding teams with strong networks we selected our talent pool based on them sharing a common vision of making Rua a market leader. We spent an equal amount of time on assessing technical skills as ensuring people believe in our vision and can strengthen it. Today we are 9 and with plans to expand the team in Q4/2014.
What’s next in the world of crowd funding?
As outlined, we would love to see crowd funding move beyond a transaction platform towards a strong UX around content and community. Right now we’re seeing more crowd funding sites focusing on multi-currency multi-language sites which we also see as crucial to drive greater liquidity for projects conversions. Whilst nascent, linking crowd funding with equity-based models will over time become more common subject to national financial regulations – but we believe once accustomed to donations and rewards-based crowd funding, users will also want to co-own the ideas and projects they back with their money.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Be focused and pragmatic. Follow your passion.
Inspired? We look forward to seeing you at the Startup Weekend Art London in October!