Imagine your friend asked to give him some money, so he could fund his dream of building his ideal cinema. He promises you that when the cinema is built you'll get an early hands on and free entrance while it is new. You agree as it is something you think the world is missing.
Now imagine just before the cinema is opening your friend sells it for millions. Not only that but he sells it to a huge corporate chain, one that doesn't seem particularly interested in film.
You've still got some free tickets but your not even sure you want to go to this new version of the cinema. Worse still you're friend is a millionaire and that was all the reward you received.
You'd be pretty gutted. That is exactly the situation that lots of early backers of the Oculus Rift are feeling right now. They backed what they thought was the future of gaming, now it is a tool within Facebook's future experiences. Many have been demanding their money back, or for more of a reward.
The thing is though, there is no real ground for that according to the rules of crowd-funding. Crowd funding is more like a gift and the rewards are optional. You can't demand anything. It is only now that the start ups funded by crowd-funding are beginning to sell to larger companies that it has become an issue.
So what is the answer? How can people kick start companies but feel like they're getting a just reward.
Well according to some in Silicon Valley, Hyper-Funding. On the most part Hyper-funding works exactly like crowd-funding only that rather than the money you give being a gift, it is an investment into the company.
This should mean that investors would get a cut of any sell out later.
Hyper-funding hasn't so far got a massive presence online. Now I personally think the only thing holding back a sturdy Hyper-Funding rival to kickstarter or IndieGoGo is a slick bit of design and a clearer communication plan.
Ultimately though it comes down to transparency of your company's business plan. If Oculus Rift were more open about there intention to sell or to secure corporate funding, would we be seeing the backlash now? People are frustrated because they thought they were funding an independent movement. So perhaps what Hyper-funding offers is transparency, that you know these companies might sell out but that you'll ultimately benefit. A open deal, one that you know what to expect. So if crowd-funding wants to adapt to survive more companies must put a sell out clause in their outreach campaigns.
Either way there best way to get involved with these things is to invest with passion. Don't put any money in you can't afford and don't expect anything back. Even with Hyper-funding, only look at companies you want to see success. That way anything from there on out is a gift, only this time to you.