Crowdfunding has come a long way in its short history. Today, it is even changing the way we consume. What was once a way to give a largely ready product a helping hand on its final push to market has become a means for consumers to get involved with something still on the drawing board, or simply to buy innovative new products before they’re in the shops.
However, as with so many seemingly new ideas there is a longer history that stretches back prior to the presence of the web. The concept of seeking public patronage and multiple sponsors for projects has existed for many centuries in the arts, erecting statues and in publishing.
Just opening the front cover of any book of English local history published in the Victorian period will reveal a list of subscribers drawn from the local great and good who funded the project. Shakespeare’s earliest success arguably also comes from support similar to modern crowdfunding.