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Student sets up online crowdfunding for worthy projects

05 September 2012

Bryan, CEO of the innovative crowdfunding platform ToGather.Asia

Realising the difficulty of raising funds for their youth and motivational book, fourth-year NUS Business School student Bryan Ong and co-founder Mark Cheng mooted the idea of ToGather.Asia, a crowdfunding platform for people with similar interests to make small monetary pledges to support projects.

Bryan, CEO of the online portal explained the concept: "ToGather.Asia is an avenue for creative and exciting projects and is specifically targeted towards Asia. Although we are focused on supporting only Asia-based projects, anyone in the world is welcome to make pledges to any of the projects." He said that persons who have made a monetary pledge to a project are not only paying to support the project but also receive a specific reward as well.

The rewards can be specially autographed T-shirts and music albums, new gadgets or a band performance on Skype or YouTube.

While the duo eventually received the sponsorship from the National Youth Achievement Award Council to publish their book titled It's I'MPOSSIBLE, Bryan said that their experience of seeking social support and a more effective solution led to the creation of ToGather.Asia, which is supported by SPRING Singapore's YES! Start-ups grant.

Since its launch in 2012, ToGather.Asia has crowdfunded music projects such as The Trees & The Wild, an indie band from Indonesia which was featured by TIME Magazine as one of the "5 Bands to Watch in 2011"; Tenderfist, a music group based in Malaysia, as well as Cashew Chemists, a Singapore band. Non-music related projects include a publication which highlights start-up entrepreneurs from the NUS Business School.

On juggling his studies and business, he shared that he is first a student of NUS before being an entrepreneur. He usually schedules his work outside his study time.

Owing to the novelty of crowdfunding in Singapore, Bryan plans to educate the public on the concept through information sessions and workshops for local creatives and project creators. "We want to ensure that we obtain traction and gather the early adopters before crowdfunding becomes popular in Singapore. Until then, we want to make sure that ToGather.Asia is the leading platform for Singapore and ultimately Asia," he said.