There’s no lack of platforms when it comes to online fundraising.
Between sites like GoFundMe, Kickstarter and Indiegogo, it seems like there are myriad online marketplaces where the budding entrepreneur can fund his or her new business venture.
But a new fundraising site called The Frynge has emerged, aimed specifically at funding action and extreme sports athletes, and hoping to turn the traditional sponsorship-reliant model on its ear.
As opposed to other fundraising websites that promise new, oftentimes untested products months down the line in exchange for financial support of a fledgling company, The Frynge focuses on selling proven, well known brand products, and donating one-tenth of all those sales to supporting action sports athletes.
“I started The Frynge due to my own personal experiences fundraising,” Dominic Costanzo, the 25-year-old founder of The Frynge told GrindTV.
“I was a collegiate athlete – I ran track and field at Virginia Commonwealth University – and after I graduated I got into skeleton racing and became part of the United States Skeleton Team.
“I noticed during my time in the Olympic Training Center, that a big hurdle a lot of athletes face is funding. You don't get a whole lot of funding from the federations just being in a niche sport.”
Skeleton racing, like many of the lesser known outdoor and action sports, draws from a naturally smaller spectator and participant group. As such, many of the athletes who practice the sports on the highest level still struggle to make ends meet and need side jobs just to survive.
“In many action sports, the top handful of athletes are big earners, and then after them the pay scale drops off considerably,” said Costanzo. “And there’s not a whole lot of funding for the rest of the athletes who play the sport.
“So what The Frynge does, is take crowdfunding and add commerce. We feature monthly campaigns where we partner with a team or an individual athlete to support them by selling select goods. And over the course of a month, 10 percent of all of our sales goes to supporting those athletes.”
Currently, The Frynge is running a campaign to help fund the USA Cliff Diving team for the ongoing Red Bull World Series of Cliff Diving. If you were to log onto the site right now, you could buy anything from Nectar sunglasses to Manda organic sun paste to Bermies swim trunks, and know that your purchase would help support an athlete’s livelihood.
While the website is nascent, Costanzo has high hopes for its future, and thinks it can be a gateway to bringing the more obscure action sports to the masses.
“We'd love to scale up to be able to run a new campaign every week,” said Costanzo. “The end goal is to be a brand that supports a community of athletes.”
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