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Looking to Turn Crowdfunding Into Digital Commerce, Indiegogo Adds an eBay Exec

Joe Martin used to run eBay's rating system.


If you want to raise money for a project on a crowdfunding platform, you are probably picking between Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

The latter company, which is more widely known for things like raising money for bullied school bus monitors or families in medical crisis, wants to do more than just crowdfunding, though. Indiegogo wants to provide a full suite of services for entrepreneurs, from raising money to finding a place to sell their finished products. And it’s adding talent and growing its commerce offerings — initiatives called InDemand and Marketplace — to try and make that happen.

The company has hired eBay engineering exec Joe Martin, who used to run the digital auction giant’s rating and verification system, as its new VP of engineering. Recently appointed Indiegogo CEO Dave Mandelbrot tells Re/code that these kinds of moves are “big things that distinguish Indiegogo from everyone else.”

InDemand allows customers to make preorders on projects that have raised enough money to actually get made. The company says that InDemand makes more than $10 million in pre-sales per quarter and has doubled in size since launching last January. Marketplace is the Indiegogo-hosted site where entrepreneurs can sell those products.

Indiegogo engineering chief Joe Martin
Indiegogo engineering chief Joe Martin

“Many entrepreneurs asked us to develop a solution to enable them to continue to take orders after their crowdfunding campaign ended,” Mandelbrot said. “It was an immediate success.”

Mandelbrot says that Indiegogo’s business is stable and growing, and that it doesn’t plan to raise more cash anytime soon, if ever. But crowdfunding is a finicky space, and digital commerce even more so (if you’re not named Amazon); a number of online retailers including Gilt Groupe and One Kings Lane have laid off staff or sold themselves off way below their peak private market values. Additionally, Amazon is already working with crowdfunders (including Indiegogo and Kickstarter) to sell successfully funded projects on Amazon Launchpad, which launched last August.

Mandelbrot says it’s different for Indiegogo, and that expanding into e-commerce is a natural extension of what Indiegogo does already.

“Indiegogo entrepreneurs build a team of backers throughout a project’s life cycle, and this lets them continue to be able to support their backers,” Mandelbrot explained. “Previous backers are often helpful in sending referrals to people who want to be able to buy their products.”

As for what their new engineering chief will do, Mandelbrot emphasized Martin’s background in vetting the buyers and sellers on eBay.

“Trust and giving users confidence in our platform is important to us,” Mandelbrot said. “Before he joined us, he was managing the 150-person team at eBay focusing on those tools to build trust.

“I can’t say the same for the industry in general — but we’ve invested a tremendous amount to ensure our users can trust us.”

This article originally appeared on

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