Libertecture

Why Libertarians should love Pave.com (and invest in me!)

Pave.com - The new crowdfunding platform helping to connect talented individuals with financial backers and mentors

Pave.com – The new crowdfunding platform helping to connect talented individuals with financial backers and mentors

Since it was founded in 2009, Kickstarter.com has been incredibly successful in making “crowdfunding” a popular and effective way for independent thinkers, artists, and entrepreneurs to raise funds online. Innovative technologies, video games, and films have received millions in funding, with the Pebble smart watch raising more than $10 million. Libertarians have been particularly enthusiastic about the site, and Reason editor Nick Gillespie even wrote an article recently for Time.com about why Ayn Rand would have loved the site.

Kickstarter and other sites like it are best understood as today’s answer to “going Galt,” a concept that’s central to Rand’s dystopian novel. Crowdfunding uses the internet to match up like-minded people who are spread all over the place to connect and support all sorts of projects, from staging of concerts to starting businesses to just about anything you can imagine.

While Kickstarter has been particularly effective at raising funds for specific projects, its business model is limited to collecting money and circulating ideas. Thankfully there is a new crowdfunding platform on the scene, Pave.com, which allows people to invest in an individual, rather than a specific project, with an emphasis on mentorship and long term incentives to succeed. Like Kickstarter, campaigners set a funding goal, a minimum funding amount, and a proposal for how the funds would be raised, but unlike other platforms, Pave has set up an innovative investment model in which financial backers receive a fixed percentage of the prospects’ income over a 5 or 10 year period. This is great for prospects in the creative fields who often face a significant financial burden early in their career, because the fixed percentage takes into account any unpredictable changes in income that may occur at such early stages. And it is great for investors because their investments are not directly tied to the success (or failure) of a particular project, and it allows backers to provide valuable guidance and thereby increase the chances of a successful return.

PAVE exposes how impractically expensive has become (and how completely inappropriate in comparison to the standard architecture income) while offering a potential way to reform it.

Now for the shameless self-promotion: I am currently raising funds on Pave to finance my architecture education at Columbia University. In particular, I am looking for funds to invest in new technology and materials for my research on the implications of digital design in architecture. Technology such as 3d printing and augmented reality offer incredible opportunities for architects to question the top-down process of design, fabrication, and interaction, yet the current cost of these innovative technologies makes it difficult for students such as myself to get involved early in their development (I recently received an offer to buy Google Glass as part of their Explorer program, but I don’t yet have the funding). What’s more, architecture students in general are often forced to make important career decisions based on the short term goals like staying out of debt rather than taking lower-paying jobs that will be better for their career in the long term. As Daniel Toole, an architecture student at Harvard who successfully raised over $12,000 on Pave, said in a recent article on ArchDaily.com,
“If I take some low-paying jobs in the front end of that first decade after graduation that are rich career-wise i.e. an associate professorship, or a lower paying position in the employment of a renowned architect that might not pay so well, my payments back will be lower than a standard federal payback that would just adjust to my income and be spread out longer. The fact that [PAVE] investors understand this and the fact that they value your professional development is a positive plus.”
Aside from the innovative investment model, the most exciting benefit of campaigning on Pave is the opportunity for prospects such as myself to receive mentorship from individuals in other fields. As a libertarian I strongly believe in the power of incentives, and Pave’s combination of investment and mentorship creates a mutually beneficial relationship that recognizes the power of the market to connect people with great ideas with the financial support to make them happen.
If you would like to learn more about how you can help fund my research on the intersection of architecture, technology, and liberty, please check out my campaign or contact me via email, Facebook, or Twitter!
Email: bodellarch@yahoo.com, web2117@columbia.edu
Twitter: @libertect
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