• Founders all over the world are increasingly turning to crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe to keep their startups alive. 
  • Widespread quarantines and business closures aimed at curbing the pandemic’s spread have tanked smaller startups’ revenues. 
  • GoFundMe has launched a specially-designed hub where users can find local businesses to donate to. 
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Founders around the world are turning to crowdfunding platform GoFundMe to keep their startups from going under due to COVID-19. 

Across the globe, widespread quarantines and business closures aimed at curbing the pandemic’s spread have left firms with a fraction of their projected revenues.

GoFundMe has responded to the crisis facing entrepreneurs, creating a hub where users can find local businesses to donate to. 

Flair Football, a mobile app helping young soccer players track their performance and compete against friends, has so far raised close to $22,000 to keep the company alive. 

The firm doesn’t qualify for the UK government’s current loan scheme designed to help businesses deal with coronavirus, so instead encouraged its 75,000 followers to contribute via GoFundMe. 

“We were mid-fundraise when the crisis hit,” the firm wrote on its campaign page, adding that it was now hard to close traditional funding rounds. “As our service is currently free, we are running out of cash to cover our costs, and there’s now a real chance we won’t survive.” 

Meanwhile in Vancouver, FrogPlum – a digital marketing and app development startup – is trying to raise $50,000 in an attempt to avoid bankruptcy. 

Cofounder and CEO Ivan Krstovic said the firm had been forced to fire employees and had been threatened with eviction from its office space in Vancouver. 

“With the COVID-19 crisis, we lost all our revenue,” he wrote. “We had to lay off employees and ask others to take unpaid leave until we can stand on our feet again.

“Sadly, day by day, it is only getting worse.” 

In Italy, described as the European epicenter of the virus, the tourism trade been hit especially badly. 

Valeria Vitrano, founder of travel and experience startup CityXcape, said the firm was going through “tough times” due to the pandemic. 

Since launching its own campaign three weeks ago, CityXcape has so far raised only €785 of its €20,000 target. 

“Nobody is visiting Sicily anymore,” Vitrano said. “Every single donation helps and could really make a difference, helping us keep this project going and stopping people from losing their jobs.” 

Speaking to Business Insider, GoFundMe’s international director John Coventry said the platform had seen two broad trends over the past few weeks. 

“The first is people coming together to support local businesses, ensuring that – when we are through the worst of this pandemic – those essential local enterprises are able to thrive again. 

“The second is the extraordinary adaptability of entrepreneurs, adjusting their companies to provide goods or services that can help in this time of crisis.” 

You can find your local businesses in need of support on GoFundMe here. 

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