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The Deacon Blog

A blog by Maria Henson (‘82) with news of alumni and the WFU community

James Beshara (’08) and Crowdtilt are worth watching

Crowdtilt, the San Francisco-based company co-founded by James Beshara (’08), is one of CNN Money’s crowdfunding sites to watch and has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle. Now the September issue of Fast Company magazine counts Crowdtilt among the “niche crowdfunders” mimicking the Kickstarter model.

James Beshara as a Wake Forest senior

Fast Company says, “Other platforms exist to cast a wide net in search of funding. Crowdtilt narrows the focus to take the risk and stress out of coordinating collective purchases – think party buses, tailgates, and group vacations.” Launched in February, the company “skews young; predictably, the site has been well received by circles of friends in, or right out of college.” Other sites mentioned in Fast Company’s “Crowding Around” article include Fundly, Appbackr and Petridish.

Beshara, who arrived from Dallas as an undergraduate, flashed a memorable entrepreneurial streak at Wake Forest. He worked with Sylvain Boko, an economics professor, to create the Dvelo Fund to finance student trips to developing countries. His Crowdtilt company allows people collectively to “group fund anything,” from a PHISH party bus in D.C., to an urban community garden to neighborhood pothole repair.  If the campaign is successful, the company takes 2.5 percent of the amount raised, nothing if it fails. Crowdtilt.com’s website describes Beshara’s aspirations this way: “He studied development economics in undergrad and hopes that Crowdtilt will eventually be used by people to change the world –- but for now, he’ll take what he can get, so late-night parties and tailgates are ok too.”

With angel investors and venture capitalists lined up behind him and the other co-founder, Khaled Hussein, the odds of success, for now, appear to be tilting in the young entrepreneurs’ favor.

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