▲ The 3D printer FLUX Delta designed by a Taiwanese team has achieved great success on the crowdfunding platforms both in Taiwan and abroad.
Tahan Lin is like a walking encyclopedia of crowdfunding. He responds intuitively and speaks assuredly about his own observations and analyses when discussing crowdfunding and the current situation, trends, and cases on both the domestic and international front. He uses vivid analogies to describe abstract concepts to ensure that his opinions are accurately conveyed to others. Behind the quick-fire thinking and speaking are profound observations from his long-term participation in the crowdfunding industry. He has been able to use crowdfunding to come into contact with many different fields.
Taiwan has seen many iconic crowdfunding cases in recent years. Among these were appeals or proposals that generated an enormous public response, such as the outdoor premiere of the documentary Beyond Beauty – Taiwan from Above, the 2014 civic movement to raise funds for advertising in the New York Times, The Appendectomy Project to promote awareness of the right to recall legislators, and Ri Xing Type Foundry’s copper letterpress restoration project. Others were products that captured public attention, such as the made-in-Taiwan original Jin Xuan typeface, the ARRC’s advanced rockets, the Formoonsa Cup, and the Luna Lamp. Lin participated in all these projects as the crowdfunding agent.
It all began in 2011, shortly after the crowdfunding trend made its way to Taiwan’s shores. By that time, Lin was already working to develop a new, local crowdfunding platform, while assisting in the preparation and handling of a variety of fundraising cases. However, he soon realized that it would be difficult for him to provide any meaningful mentoring while working simultaneously on a dozen or more cases; his time and efforts were simply too divided. He decided to concentrate on mentoring, and established the crowdfunding consultancy Backer-Founder in order to achieve this.
A backer is a person who supports a crowdfunding campaign, while the founder is the person who initiates the crowdfunding campaign. Lin explains his role and that of Backer-Founder, “We are the hyphen in the middle that links up the two sides, and connects more people and resources.” The crowdfunding consultancy helps to raise funds, forges connections between people, and creates opportunities by bringing people together who can meet one another’s needs.
▲ The Luna Lamp.
The Future of Crowdfunding in Huaren Design Circle
Lin is a longterm observer of global crowdfunding trends and related topics. He has observed that the use of crowdfunding within huaren design circles is already extremely mature compared to that within Taiwan’s new cultural and creative design teams. The standard of crowdfunding campaigns coming out of huaren design is high, and many have successfully raised funds on international platforms in recent years. Examples include the compact laser engraver Cubiio, and 3D printer FLUX Delta. Both of these design projects used crowdfunding to enter the international market.
“We have already set a number of precedents and developed many models. To a certain extent, we have set the standard. Crowdfunding is a very public and transparent social endeavor, because everyone can directly learn from existing success stories and methods,” says Lin. He believes that the challenge that crowdfunding will face, as it moves into its next stage, involves not merely following the existing methods and categories for development, but rather striving for larger constructs and deeper participation. He notes that, “changes to any industry come about through the emergence of landmark cases.” Through fundraising, Backer-Founder will continue to explore new directions.
Since he began participating in the crowdfunding industry in 2011, Lin has been involved in over four hundred cases that have spanned the technological, design, social, creative, and public welfare sectors.
In October 2014, he established the crowdfunding consultancy Backer-Founder. The company has provided comprehensive services in the areas of marketing, planning, and production for major brands involving both domestic and foreign fundraising, as well as for the 2017 Taipei Summer Universiade. Since its establishment four years ago, Backer-Founder has cumulatively raised over NT$900 million.