Twenty-six year old Ayah Norris, who was born in Winnipeg, is a vivacious and passionate young woman with two fascinating careers. Working out of Toronto, Norris leads Marketing and Community in Canada for Indiegogo, the world’s largest crowdfunding platform. She’s also co-founder of the award winning digital storytelling platform, The Insight Project. Norris grew up in Waterloo but spent her summers with her grandparents in the Gimli trailer park and going to Folklorama.
Indiegogo is a global crowdfunding platform based in San Francisco. Crowdfunding is a way for people to come together to pool their resources for a project on an online platform.
“You may want to do a film project, or open up a small business, or start producing a technological gadget or fund a community related project, but need a little money to get your project off the ground,” explained Norris. “Indiegogo gives you a space to put up your project idea and be able to bring in a network of people willing to contribute to the cause. With these pooled resources, you are able to bring your idea to life while keeping all ownership of your project.
“People get perks in return for their contribution, which could be their name in the credits of a film, an advance product purchase, a T-shirt, a celebration party or almost anything else.
“We just had the first crowd funded baby. A couple needed in vitro-fertilization, but didn’t have the money themselves. They put up their project on Indiegogo, sharing their story about why they wanted to have a baby. They put it out to their friends and family and it was forwarded from there, so that even strangers ended up helping the couple raise the money they needed. They raised $8,050 towards IVF treatment, were able to get the treatment and had a baby,” said Norris.
Indiegogo has built a global community in nearly 190 countries. If you get featured on their website or go out on their email blast, your project idea is accessed by this global community and your chance for success grows.
“It is free to put your project up on Indiegogo. We take a percentage fee of money raised – 4.0% if you hit your goal and 9.0% if you don’t hit your goal,” said Norris.
Crowdfunding at Indiegogo began in 2008 when three people shared a vision to create a fully open funding platform with no gatekeepers – no barriers between you and the people you need to reach to help you fund your project.
As the world’s largest crowd funding platform, Indegogo has hosted over 100,000 campaigns since its inception and has about 7,000 campaigns active at any given time. $2.7 billion dollars was raised through crowdfunding this year and that number is expected to double next year.
Norris has a Bachelor of Commerce from Queen’s University in Kingston ON and worked in corporate marketing for two and a half years before founding the digital media platform called The Insight Project with her business partner Kyla Zanardi in January 2012.
“This is digital storytelling where we make mini documentaries. We share the stories of people who have followed their passion, brought a new idea to life, and are shaping their communities in new and creative ways for the purpose of inspiring other people. The stories can be seen at http://insightproject.tv/.
“The Insight Project was brought to life through crowdfunding. We raised over $21,000. We hit our $20,000 goal in twenty days. It was overwhelming to know that there was a supportive community behind us and our idea.
“I took a big leap leaving the corporate world with no guarantees on the other end of how things would work out. Throughout the journey all I could really have is a lot of faith, and not worry about what the outcome was going to be – just focus on what I could do at the time. I had faith in myself and my abilities and trust that when you put forth your best efforts, things work out the way they are meant to work out,” concluded Norris.
Things seemed to have worked out very well for Ayah Norris.