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Indiegogo moves crowdfunding business beyond USA

French, Germans, British, and other Europeans now have an easier time using Indiegogo in their own languages and currency. Also: a crowdfunded baby.

Indiegogo co-founder Danae Ringelmann speaking at LeWeb 2012.
Indiegogo co-founder Danae Ringelmann speaking at LeWeb 2012.
Stephen Shankland/CNET

PARIS -- Indiegogo, a site that lets people fund projects and companies in exchange for assorted products and perks, is expanding internationally.

Co-founder Danae Ringelmann announced today at the LeWeb conference here that the company today started accepting payments in euros, British pounds, and Canadian dollars, not just U.S. dollars, and has versions of the Web site in German and French.

"Thirty percent of our business is outside U.S., but it's all been in English in U.S. dollars," Ringelmann said. Internationalization of the business will make Indiegogo work more easily elsewhere. "If you're in Germany and you go to Indiegogo, it'll all be in German."

The company also will offer people with campaigns on Indiegogo to describe them in English, German, and French by the end of 2013, she added.

Ringelmann, who worked in banking, co-founded Indiegogo after realizing how hard it was for self-starters. "You had to have a rich uncle or a trust fund, so all these ideas were going unborn," she said.

It's a curious choice of words, given one of Indiegogo's projects from 2011: "Last year we had a baby crowdfunded on Indiegogo," where parents raised funds for in vitro fertilization. The baby was born this year.

Initially, the startup's co-founders conceived of the idea of raising money in exchange for equity -- an ownership stake. But securities regulation barred that approach, so Indiegogo let people offer only "perks" such as products or acknowledgements on Twitter.

Now, regulatory changes mean that equity exchange is possible.

"Equity crowdfunding is incredibly exciting," she said. "This is what the original idea was."