Puerto Rico's first crowdfunding website, Antrocket.com, is in business, giving the U.S. territory's own entrepreneurs an alternative venue to raise money for their projects. The site is locally built by a group that saw potential in creating an answer to Kickstarter and Indiegogo and they have an ambitious agenda — the mantra is "Redesign Society."
"We want to redesign society with Antrocket by promoting collaboration, accountability and transparency," said Javier Torres, co-founder of Antrocket.com. "We figure that, if we act more like ants do — ants are social, cooperative and hardworking — we'll all be better off, since more creative projects will have a greater chance at success."
Antrocket.com is a rewards-based crowdfunding site that acts as a funnel for inventions that need capital but have not found it in the traditional financial system. It gives creators an alternative source of cash to fund projects through a network of supporters. Projects that reach their funding goals on or before a pre-determined time receive the funding they need. Antrocket collects a 5 percent fee.
"As an entrepreneur, I've faced the frustration of not finding financing for my projects," said Guifre Tort, site co-founder and co-creator of 3-Boo, one of the projects featured in Antrocket.com. "With Antrocket.com, I'm turning frustration into action because, by creating a collective solution to help others achieve their goals, I will push my own projects forward. That is the philosophy that drives our team."
The crowdfunding model also gives creators access to a place where they can market and test their ideas for free. Just how different, technology-speaking, Antrocket.com is compared to sites as Kickstarter and Indiegogo isn't quite known. Among the projects currently seeking funding on Antrocket.com for funding are The Platano Kit, a high-design Puerto Rican souvenir; 3Boo vegigante dolls, a series of three dolls inspired by local traditions; Thunder, a documentary about 13-time world Muay Thai champion David Cummings; Defend the Fawkin Station, a touch-based, sci-fi shooting game for mobile devices and tablets, and Judo athlete Adrian Gandia 's bid to become an Olympic gold medalist.