Online Communities Help Raise Start-Up Cash

For Phu Nguyen, 25, and Peter Seid, 22, inventing Romo, a robot controlled by a smart phone, was the easy part.

For Phu Nguyen, 25, and Peter Seid, 22, inventing Romo, a robot controlled by a smart phone, was the easy part. The hard part for the co-founders of Romotive was gauging the market’s interest in their prototype, finding developers to create phone applications for it and raising money to assemble more robots.

They turned to Kickstarter, a Web site anyone can use to gather funds from supporters. Last fall, the Seattle pair raised more than $80,000 in about a month -- more than double their $32,000 goal—and found like-minded innovators, too.

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Lisa Gerstner
Editor, Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine

Lisa has been the editor of Kiplinger Personal Finance since June 2023. Previously, she spent more than a decade reporting and writing for the magazine on a variety of topics, including credit, banking and retirement. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.