Open Source Crowdfunding Software for Custom Campaigns

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With more and more entrepreneurs and organizations embracing crowdfunding as a method for launching products or services, it’s only natural that alternatives to the current giants of crowdfunding, Kickstarter and Indiegogo, are cropping up. And while there are other choices, such as WeGiveWeGrow and Piggybackr, as well as niche-specific crowdfunding initiatives like Kiva Labs, WorthWild, Love Animals, ioby, and Gatheround, if you want to “roll your own” crowdfunding campaign, there hasn’t been a really viable option. Until now.

There is an open source crowdfunding software, Selfstarter, which might serve as a starting point for building a custom crowdfunding campaign, but it’s rather sparse in features, and could require some code-savvy team members to get it to function as seamlessly as other crowdfunding sites do.

So the folks at Crowdtilt, a crowdfunding platform for pooling money for causes or people, took that project and ran with it, building a more powerful and easier to implement crowdfunding software solution, called Crowdhoster.

We allow you to launch your own custom crowdfunding page without touching a line of code. Inspired by WordPress, we turned to an open source project to serve as the backbone of the site code. Selfstarter was the obvious choice here, thanks to the hard work of the crazy-talented Lockitron team. And from there, we formulated two more goals of our own:

  1. Dedicate significant effort to build on what Selfstarter began—that is, on turning Crowdhoster into the premier open source crowdfunding platform. We started with integrating Crowdtilt’s API for a smoother and more robust collaborative payments process; now we’re hard at work refining other killer features like user sign-in, project admin, and content management.
  2. Provide a (currently free!) service at, where we’ll get you up and running on your very own instance of Crowdhoster — with zero (Ø!) coding required. (Think of it as the of crowdfunding).

With Crowdhoster, crowdfunding campaigns can be also be integrated into the projects’ own websites, such as was done with Soylent’s massively successful fundraising campaign, or be hosted on Crowdhoster’s servers. Currently, the service is invite-only, although the open source code is available at Github for those that want to dig into it and help further its development.

In a piece about Crowdhoster at Venture Beat, Crowdtilt’s CEO explained one of the reasons behind the startup’s focus on this project:

“Crowdfunding is too powerful and makes too much sense for it only to invest in silos. With Crowdhoster, we want to infect the world with crowdfunding. This is just version 1. Who knows where it will all go? Kickstarter is not the future of crowdfunding, and we are building the product we think should exist.” – James Beshara


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