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FAQ

Find helpful answers about crowdfunding on Startnext.

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    Basics

    Crowdfunding is a financial model in which several people (the "crowd") jointly finance an idea or project (the "funding").

    How does it work?
    The starter introduces their idea through videos, images, and text; sets the funding goal and time frame; and decides on rewards for the supporters. Anyone who wants to help make the idea a reality is free to support a project. Supporters can pick a reward, the finished product for instance, or support the project with a free amount. 

    All-or-nothing
    Crowdfunding with Startnext follows the "all-or-nothing" principle: The starter receives the money only if the funding goal is reached; if not, the contributions are returned to the supporters.

    Fees will only incur if your project is successfully funded. If it isn't, you will not have to pay anything.

    • Voluntary commission for Startnext: You determine the exact amount you’d like to give to Startnext. Your contribution shows your support for our work and our commitment to the cause. We receive an average of 3% from projects starters. 
    • Transaction fees: As long as money is involved, we need banks and payment service providers - and the fees are unfortunately fixed. The payments are entirely processed by our service provider Finlane and are charged with 4%.

    Finlane GmbH (former Startnext Network GmbH) is our long-standing partner for payment and verification services. Finlane accounts for the verification of all project starters and is your contact for questions regarding payment on Startnext. Curious? Find more information on Finlane here.

    If a project violates the law (e.g. copyright, trademark law, personal rights) or our guidelines, your can report an abuse. You'll find a "Report Abuse" button on every project page, which you can use to let us know about any violations.

    User profile

    As a registered user, you can:

    • Start a project
    • Become fan of a project
    • Keep track of your supports and change details during the campaign like the delivery address
    • Receive project blog posts 
    • Read blog posts for supporters only
    • Comment on blog posts
    • Post comments on the wall of projects
    • Receive our newsletter with project recommendations
    • Get in touch with other users by using our messaging system

    You don't need to register to support a project.

    Be sure to check your spam folder! If you still can’t find it, you can request another activation email here.

    If you registered via social media log in, you will receive an email without an activation link. This means you can log in with your Facebook or google+ account.

    Click the Forgot password link and we will send you a new password via email.

    To change your e-mail address, please log in and go to your profile settings. Click the "Change email" link and then follow the instructions.

    You can subscribe or unsubscribe our newsletter in your profile settings under "notifications".

    On your profile, click "Settings" and then go to "Privacy settings" and check "I don't want to be found in search engines and be visible only to registered users." Your profile will no longer show up in any search engine results.

    Please note may take a few days before your profile is completely hidden from search engines.

    Go to your profile settings, scroll down, and click the "Delete profile" link. Your profile will be deleted and you will no longer receive messages from the site. Please note that this action cannot be undone.

    It may be that you cannot delete your profile for the following reasons:

    • You have a project in the starting phase, funding phase, or end phase (the payout). 
    • You have an active partner page.
    • You supported a project that is still in the funding phase, and we have not yet received your payment or your payment has not yet been returned to you.

    Messages

    To contact the starter with any questions, feedback, or requests, you can:

    • Post on the wall of the project page: Messages posted here are visible to everyone. The starter will be notified about your post via email.
    • Send an email: On the project site under the project description, click "Legal notice". There, you will find further contact information for the starter.
    • Send a private message: Go to the starters profile and click on "Write a message".

    You can send messages via our messaging system. How?

    1. Log in.
    2. Go to the profile of the user you'd like to get in touch with
    3. Click the "Write a message" button

    Please note it is not yet possible to attach files to a message.

    You'll find an overview of your messages in your profile.

    • If you have unread messages, you'll get a notification on the top right of the page.
    • If your email notifications are activated, you'll also receive the information via email.

    Once you are logged in, go to your profile settings and then to "notifications". There, you can set your email notification preferences for how often you’d like to be notified when you receive a new message. You have the following options:

    • immediately
    • daily
    • weekly
    • never

    Please note if you deactivate the email notifications, you won't be informed when a starter or another user messages you.

    1. Log in and go to your Startnext inbox.
    2. Click on the menu on the top right of the message.
    3. Click "Unsubscribe conversation".

    You are receiving these messages because you are a fan of the project and thereby subscribed to its blog. If you prefer not to receive any more messages, simply end your fan status. To do so, visit the project page and click "You are a fan".

    There are several ways for you to message your supporters and fans:

    • Blog post: Write a post on your project blog, it will automatically be sent to your fans via email.
    • Email: You will find your supporters email addresses in the supporters list.
    • Private message: You can message your supporters via the interface of your project page:
    1. Log in.
    2. Go to your project page.
    3. Open the menu point "supports" in your project interface.
    4. Click on "list of supporters".
    5. Search for the user you want to get in contact with and click on their name.
    6. Click the button "Write supporter"

    For supporters

    Support

    After logging in, visit the project page, where you will find a button labeled "Become a fan".

    As a fan, you'll receive new blog posts via email and won't miss any news.

    1. Visit the page of the project that you would like to support.
    2. Select one or more rewards in the right-hand column and/or enter a free amount.
    3. Confirm your selection(s) by clicking "Support now", which will take you to the payment.
    4. Select a payment method.
    5. Confirm your agreement with Startnexts terms of use and click "Support with payment liability".
    6. That's it, you're now an official supporter of the project!

    Yes. Just check "I would like to hide my name on the public list of supporters" during the support process. Your name will still be visible to the starter, but will not be listed publicly on the project page. In order to send you your reward, the starter will have access to your email address and, if necessary, your delivery address.

    In order for starters to send you a reward, you must provide your:

    • Name 
    • Email address 
    • Support amount 
    • Chosen reward 
    • Delivery address, if specified 
    • Billing address, if specified

    During the support process, you may have the option of entering a billing address. If not, ask the starter if they can send you an invoice.

    The invoice will be sent by the project starter with the rewards.

    Starters are not permitted to send donation receipts unless the project is not-for-profit, in which case they must issue a donation receipt. If you have provided your shipping address, you will receive a donation receipt from the starter if you have supported a not-for-profit project that is successfully funded.

    Please note donation receipts cannot be issued for a regular support with reward.

    To contact the starter with any questions, feedback, or requests:  

    1. Post on the wall of the project page: Messages posted here are visible to everyone. 
    2. Send an email: On the project site under the project description, click "Legal notice". There, you will find further contact information for the starter. 
    3. Send a private message via the messaging system.

    Payment

    • Direct debit
    • Credit card
    • Sofort banking
    • Advance payment

    Notes regarding the payment methods:

    • The minimum support amount is 5€.
    • Credit card is only available up to 2,200€.
    • Debit card is only available up to 8,000€.
    • Advance payment is not possible if there are a limited number of rewards.
    • Because of transaction delays, advance payment is only possible up until 5 days before the end of the funding phase.

    Notes regarding the payment providers: 

    • All payments are processed by our service provider Finlane.
    • Direct debit and credit card are processed through Secupay AG. Secupay is a safe payment provider with PCI-certification and licensed by Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (Federal Financial Supervisory Authority).
    • Sofort banking is processed through SOFORT AG. It owns the following certifications: "Geprüftes Zahlungssystem" (checked payment system) and "Geprüfter Datenschutz" (checked data privacy) of TÜV Saarland.

    That depends on the chosen payment method:

    • Direct debit and credit card will be charged only once the project has reached its first funding goal. Please make sure that you have sufficient funds in your account or that your credit card has not expired.

    • Sofort banking will be charged immediately. 
    • With advance payments, supporters are responsible for making the actual wire transfer themselves. 

    Your money will be returned to your bank account within 14 business days.

    If you used direct debit or a credit card to support the project, please note that no money will be deducted from your account at all unless the project is funded successfully.

    For foreign supporters: We receive the transaction (e.g. British Pound or Swiss franc) in Euro. This figure in Euro will be refunded through our payment provider Secupay. It will be converted to your currency according to the exchange rate of your bank.

    It may take 2 to 5 business days for the money to transfer to the account. Once we receive the money, you will appear as a supporter.

    Yes, you may cancel anytime during the funding phase. You will find the function in your profile in the section "Supports".

    If you have not yet activated your profile, you'll find in your confirmation email a link to your support details which include a cancellation link.

    Yes. If the project is successfully funded, you can download an invoice from your profile by clicking on "Supports".

    Rewards

    For expected delivery times, check the reward descriptions on the project page. After the project has been successfully funded, you'll also find news about the project and information about the rewards on the project site’s blog.

    If you have questions about a reward, contact the starter through the messaging system, via email, or by posting a public message on their project’s wall.

    During the funding phase: click the "Supports" button on your profile page or click "Support details" in the payment confirmation message that you received from us. From there, you can make any necessary changes.

    After the funding phase: If you need to change your support details or shipping address after the funding phase has ended, please contact the starter directly.

    For starters

    Process

    In the draft phase, you edit your project page step by step. The draft is not public and you can change any information until the beginning of the funding phase.

    Interface
    You'll find the interface to edit your project page in the left side-bar. The four numbers stand for the different phases of your crowdfunding campaign. Here, you can: describe the project, specify the funding goal, timeline, and rewards, add images and a pitch video. You can also create blog posts for the project page and track your statistics. Finally, by clicking on the contact button, you'll access the direct chat with your project advisor. 

    International campaigns
    If your target group is international, you can add an English project page. Simply use the language switch in the left side-bar and replace the texts. Please make sure you don't open the project page in multiple tabs, as content would then get overwritten.

    Yes, but only one person from the team can create the project page and become the starter, and thus the administrator and owner of the project.

    The starter can list other team members by clicking "Team" in the interface and adding their profiles. The team members are visible on the project site.

    Team members can:

    • see the project draft using the project link
    • communicate with the project advisor
    • write blog posts
    • track statistics.

    Yes. However for the internal verification we need the official data. 

    Once your project is in the starting phase, it is visible to everyone. If you would like to obtain protection for your idea, please familiarize yourself with copyright, patent, or trademark laws. For example, some inventors or developers apply for a patent to protect their idea before beginning their crowdfunding campaign.

    Project starters can use the starting phase the project link to friends and ask for their feedback.

    How to use the starting phase
    The feedback from friends or colleagues can help the starter to test their communication and project presentation, in order to be at their very best when moving on to the funding phase. Because the starter is still free to edit or rework the overall presentation of the project during this phase, this feedback can be taken into account in order to make improvements.

    If you're well prepared, you can ask your project advisor to skip the starting phase and move to the funding phase right away.

    If you share your project on Facebook, it is possible that incorrect data have been stored in a cache by Facebook. This happens when you share a project that hasn’t yet been activated on Startnext, or you have made changes to your project since sharing it on Facebook. If this is the case, Facebook is not able to access the correct data.

    You can delete the incorrect information on Facebook by visiting this link and entering your project page’s link. You can then display or update the current information that is being shared. 
    Please note that your project must be publicly visible on Startnext in order for this to work.

    The project widget is a preview of your project with a picture, brief description, and the current funding status. You can easily embed the widget in your own website or blog (except for wordpress.com). Anyone who clicks on the widget is directed to your Startnext project page.

    You can find all the information about the widget by clicking on the "embed" symbol (staple), which can be found on your project page on the right side in the sharing icons.

    Every day, our communication team comes across countless fascinating new projects. From these, we select a colorful assortment of projects representing all categories.

    We present the featured projects in our channels (social media, newsletter, blog), they rotate on our homepage, and appear as recommendations on successfully funded projects.

    These are the criteria for being featured:

    • A great idea
    • An exemplary project presentation
    • A short and succinct description of the idea
    • Images that fit your project (and without graphics, text or logos!)
    • A thrilling pitch video
    • And appealing rewards
    • Just have a look at our current featured projects for inspiration!

    Check out our current recommendations here!

    You can download your supporters' data after the successful funding of your project. A list containing their information (name, email address, delivery address, reward) will be available to you under "Supports". You can export your supporters’ shipping information into an Excel list.

    Tip: To ensure that all of your supporter information is up to date and that all of the payments are valid, download the list only after all your funding sum has been paid out.

    For mac users: Older versions of Excel may not correctly display some characters. Other software will display it correctly. You can either download the latest Excel version or use alternative software such as Numbers by Apple or OpenOffice.

    In the starting phase: You may cancel your project at any time. Please inform your fans about the reasons for your decision.

    In the funding phase: A project can be canceled in justified cases only; contact your project advisor for more information.

    After a successful funding phase: If, for some unexpected reasons, you can't implement a project, we can offer to transfer the supports back. Our service provider Finlane will process the refunds and charge an extra 4% of the funding sum.

    Funding

    With Startnext, starters decides for themselves how much commission they would like to give us. This commission helps us fund our platform, our daily work and the individual project advising especially. We chose the model of a voluntary commission because we believe everyone can estimate the value of a provided service on their own.

    Defining the voluntary commission
    You can define the voluntary commission in your project interface under "funding goal" until the beginning of the funding phase. Many starters ask what an adequate amount is. According to our model, this decision is completely up to you. We can nevertheless say that we receive an average of 3%, which is why the preset is 3%. The average on other crowdfunding platforms is between 4 and 6%.

    Transaction fees
    While the commission is voluntary, a successful crowdfunding campaign comes with fixed external transaction fees. The payments are fully processed by our service provider Finlane and charged with 4% of the funding sum. As project starter, you'll find an exemplary calculation in your project interface of how high the fees will be if your project is successfully funded.

    In order for you to be able to collect funds, we are legally obligated to verify your identity and account information. The verification process takes between 7 and 14 days; be sure to begin this process as soon as possible if you would like to start a project quickly. 

    On your project page, select "Verification”; there, you must indicate whether you would like to be verified as an individual or as a corporation. A list of the documents necessary to complete the verification process will then be displayed.

    Congratulations! These are the next steps:

    1. Complete the verification: In order for us to transfer you the money, the verfication must be completed successfully. You'll find all necessary information in the interface under the menu point "Verification". The verification process can take up to 7 business days.
    2. Receive the money: The money will be transfered 14 days after the successful verification. You can check the planned transfer date in the project interface under supports>funding stats.

    You will receive an invoice from Startnext for the transaction fees and your voluntary commission. You can download it on your project page via "Supports > Funding Stats".

    In some rare cases, payments don't go through. This may happen in the following cases:

    • Payments made with direct debit or credit card are drawn only after the funding goal has been reached. In exceptional cases, it’s possible that the payment can’t be collected—for example, if the account isn't covered or the credit card is no longer valid.
    • Payments by advance payment are transferred by the supporters. If we don't receive the money, we automatically send the supporter two reminders before cancelling the support.

    Tip: If a supporters payment is still pending, we recommend waiting until it has been confirmed before sending them a reward.

    You can view the pending payments in your project interface under 
    "Supports > List of supporters". Use the filter "Pending". Those supports will also be marked with an exclamation point in the list of supporters.

    Congratulations! If you have a commitment from a patron or sponsor, convince them to pay their support directly through Startnext. If for some reason that isn’t possible, discuss with your project advisor whether it’s possible to incorporate their support into your project.

    Please send the following information to projekte (at) startnext.com:

    • A short explanation of why the money cannot be paid directly
    • A signed grant approval or sponsorship agreement indicating the total payment amount
    • The contact details of your sponsor or patron

    We will look over this information and discuss with you how we can make the promotion visible within your crowdfunding project. Using the partner fields on your project page, you can display a list of your sponsors, patrons, or other partners.

    Partner Pages

    A partner page can be used by corporations, foundations, funding agencies, universities, cities, and clubs to support creative projects on Startnext, give advice, curate ideas, and create contests.

    1. Open "Projects" and then "Curated" in the page interface. 
    2. Search for the project and click on "curate project". The project is now curated by your partner page

    Page Pro and Premium: If you'd like the curation to also be visible on the project page, simply check the box "Request approval". The starter then receives the curation request via email and can approve or decline.

    Starters are informed of new curation requests via email. The curation requests are also listed in the interface of their project page under "Network" and "Curation of Pages". Project starters can choose to approve or decline a curation request.

    Page owners will be informed of new curation requests via email. The curation requests are also listed in the interface of their partner page under "Projects > Curated". Partner page owners can choose to approve or decline a curation request. The project starter will be informed of the decision via email.

    1. Go to the page and click on "Apply now".
    2. Log in or register. 
    3. Choose the project, confirm the page guidelines and apply for curation.
    1. Go to the page and click on "Apply now".
    2. Log in or register. 
    3.  Choose "Create project", confirm the page guidelines and start setting up your project.

    About Startnext

    Startnext is the largest crowdfunding platform for ideas, projects and startups in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Entrepreneurs, inventors and creative people present their ideas and fund them with the support of many people.

    Startnext statistics

    48,220,929 € funded by the crowd
    5,396 successful projects
    900.000 users

    Security

    Is important to us, so we adhere to these standards:

    • Privacy protection under german law
    • Safe payments with SSL
    • Secure transactions by our trustee secupay AG
    • Verification of the starters under german law

    Payment methods

    Funding creativity together - Discover new ideas or start your own project!

    © 2010 - 2017 Startnext Crowdfunding GmbH