- 1,656 contributors
Flexible Funding Campaign
Support us to give something amazing back to the world
Update: We’ve hit the first target
the world wants this to happen!
Now we’ve hit our first target, we’re delighted that we can deliver Loomio 1.0 this year!
Every dollar raised from here on is going to help us work on the big challenges beyond building the core Loomio 1.0 software. Read more about our stretch goals.
Introducing Loomio 1.0
Loomio is a user-friendly tool for collaborative decision-making: not majority-rules polling, but actually coming up with solutions that work for everyone. We’re a small team in New Zealand, and we’ve built a prototype that people are already doing great things with. Now we’re crowdfunding so we can build the real thing: a new tool for truly inclusive decision-making.
How it works
Read this blog post for a more in-depth look at the process of making a decision with Loomio 1.0.
Loomio 1.0 will be:
- mobile, so it works across all devices
- safe, so you can control your own data and privacy
- accessible, so people of all abilities can participate
- free and open-source software, licensed under AGPL3
- as easy to use as email
Who are we? Why us?
We’re a small team of open-source developers, facilitators and activists in New Zealand, organised as a social tech cooperative. We’ve got the skills we need and we’ve already delivered a lot with very little. We’re supported by a social impact tech hub called Enspiral.
After 18 months of learning from the thousands of people using our prototype, we know exactly what an inclusive tool for group decision-making needs to be. We’re passionate about user-centred design and we’re expert in group process, with decades of facilitation experience on the team.
What is this campaign going to fund?
We’ve taken everything we’ve learnt from the thousands of users of the beta prototype, and designed a whole new platform that will make online decision-making truly accessible.
$100k will fund the core team to dedicate all of their time to get a first release out before the end of this year. Our first milestone for a stable release in November 2014. This will include:
- A fully-featured platform for decentralised decision-making: organic group formation, decision-first architecture, full email integration.
- A lightweight mobile interface built in AngularJS and HTML5.
- A Docker file for easy local installations.
- Compatibility with screen-readers and other assistive technologies.
- Multi-lingual support (we support 20 languages so far, with more on the way)
The bigger vision
Everything we raise beyond $100K will fund us to work on the big challenges beyond simply building the core software:
- Bridging the online/offline gap: assembling a knowledge wiki, bringing together best practice in collective decision-making. This is about open-sourcing the cultural technology of collaboration that goes with the digital technology.
- Interoperability: an open API for sharing functionality with other online tools.
- Plugins: an ecosystem of open-source plug-ins to extend functionality - e.g. participatory budgeting, liquid democracy/proxy-voting.
If we raise $252,108, Callaghan Innovation (a large innovation funder in New Zealand) has approved a matched-funding grant, which means every $1 we raise is multiplied by 1.4x. This would allow us to undertake some really ambitious research and development projects to make the platform even more accessible and secure:
- SMS: decision-making by text message, for parts of the world where mobile internet is out of reach.
- Decentralisation: a decentralised, federated architecture for resilience and privacy.
How is this project going to sustain itself after the crowdfunding campaign?
We sell services to organisations, so we can afford to give away the tool to groups without a budget. Our services include software customisation and collaboration expertise. You can find out more on our services page.
For the duration of this crowdfunding campaign, we're offering a 50% discount on our most popular service package "Kickstart Collaboration", which includes a customised online home for your organisation, and consulting support to ensure your group succeeds with this new tool. You can purchase this package by selecting the $5000 reward option on the right hand column of this page.
What people are saying about Loomio
"Loomio unleashes the internet's potential to bring people towards consensus rather than polarized debate"
- Douglas Rushkoff, author of Present Shock, advisor to Loomio
"... Loomio seems to have a good mix of political savvy, technical knowhow, and design sense." - Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
" While Loomio might not replace representative democracy ... it may take some of the pressure off our democratic institutions by giving people the ability to make a whole lot of decisions for themselves, and with one another." - Douglas Rushkoff, Shareable
"Loomio may just be a sustainable business as well as a great free product and, what’s more, it may prove genuinely useful in a wide variety of contexts." - CNN/GigaOm
"Loomio emerged out of the New Zealand Occupy movement and shares many conceptual similarities: how to include the 99 percent in decision-making?" - Tech President, March 2014
"Loomio is hitting a sweet spot between individual voice and collective decision” - Tech President, Feb 2013
“New Zealand start-up Loomio... looks set to go on to great things.” - The Guardian
“The new era of digital democracy is one source of hope. New formats for web-based participation, like Loomio, and enablers of grassroots engagement… are flourishing.” - The Huffington Post
After only a few minutes of testing we have confirmed that @loomioproject even works on a microbus speeding through the desert. Great stuff!— sherief gaber (@cairocitylimits) November 1, 2012
Artwork by Hannah Salmon
At the $1000 reward level we have a limited edition signed print of Loomio-themed artwork by our genius illustrator-in-residence Hannah Salmon!
Here’s an example of some of her previous work to give you an idea of her incredible talent (click for high-resolution view). She'll be creating a new piece especially for our wonderful $1000 backers.
More background to the project
Here's Ben Knight, one of the founding members of the Loomio Co-op, presenting a TEDx talk about technology and everyday democracy:
Support us to give something amazing back to the world
You’re not just supporting a vision, you’re getting a tool that will make a real difference in your own life, in your work, and in your community. So it’s up to all of us. Will this missing piece of the internet be developed on open platforms, for the public good? That’s a decision that you can help to make right now.
Loomio launches in Swedish
Half-way point of campaign & 50% of the goal!
Loomio is translated in Taiwan Chinese
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is mobile so important?
Mobile is rapidly becoming the first point of contact that people have with the internet, especially young people and people in areas where computers are scarce. We believe real democracy has to include everyone, so we’re building a tool that reaches people where they already are.
In 2013, the number of internet users surpassed 2.5 billion people, and half of them used a mobile device to access the net. This is only set to increase in the next few years.
Who are you?
Loomio is built with love by a small team in Wellington, New Zealand, from diverse backgrounds like open-source development, facilitation, social entrepreneurship, and activism. Loomio is much more than software. In addition to developers, some of us are highly experienced group process and communications experts. The cultural technology is just as important as the digital technology - while Loomio is a simple tool, a lot of deep thinking and design goes behind it.
We’re a worker-owned cooperative, embodying our commitment to democracy in the workplace. We’re a social enterprise, which means we exist to maximise positive social impact, not profit.
Is Loomio political or affiliated with a specific movement?
We've made a commitment to maintaining a neutral, independent, non-partisan space. We're a team with diverse views, brought together by a common belief that genuine collaboration and more diversity and inclusion leads to better outcomes.
Can’t we already make decisions online?
Current online tools just weren’t built for bringing online discussion to clear agreement. If you have ever tried making a clear decision with a bunch of people over email, you know why it’s not good enough! Loomio takes the way we make decisions together in daily life, and shifts it online. Seems straightforward right? We were surprised it didn’t already exist too!
There are many collaboration and communications apps out there already, but Loomio is different in important ways. It’s not a polling, voting, or survey tool, where communication is a one-way street and the majority rules - it’s about working together to come up with actionable solutions that work for everyone. Unlike a complex project management system, Loomio is dead simple.
What about my privacy? What do you mean when you talk about Loomio 1.0 being “safe”?
This campaign will fund development that makes it much easier for people to take full control of their privacy. Our cloud-hosted service already meets industry best-practice, but we want to go further - making it as easy as possible for people to run Loomio on their own server. This is already possible for technically proficient folk, but more work is required for it to be easily achievable by most people.
Who made that awesome video? Who did the music?
The movie was a huge team effort with help from all over town. The key people where Sophi Reinholt from ZhiZhy on camera and Mark Russell from Adventure Artists editing. Our infinite love and gratitude go out to them, and to the amazing Alphabethead for composing the music:
Does it cost anything to use Loomio?
We resource Loomio through a gift economy model, where people using Loomio make voluntary contributions to the project, so that money isn’t a barrier to entry to people who can’t give financially. We also offer paid services to groups that require customisation, consulting, and other premium options.
Are you open source?
We are proudly open source! Loomio is free software, licensed under AGPL3.
What language is Loomio written in? Where’s the code?
Loomio Beta is written in Ruby on Rails. Fork us on Github!
What do you mean by “free”?
Loomio is ‘free software’, meaning that anyone has the freedom to run, read, learn from, modify and redistribute the code.
Why are you crowdfunding?
Resourcing Loomio through crowdfunding means that it’s totally driven by the community of people using it, so things keep heading in the direction that’s best for everyone. By embracing the gift economy, we can stay true to our values of free and open software and collective intelligence. Right from the start, Loomio has been a community-driven project, so crowdfunding is a great fit.
How will the money be spent?
Your support will provide a living wage for the core team, and some basic office space. We want Loomio to be our full time job, so we can make the best possible tool and give it away to the world.
Haven’t you already built Loomio? How is Loomio 1.0 different?
We’re proud of the beta prototype we’ve built, and it’s already being used by groups doing great things. But we know its limitations - in particular, it’s not built for mobile devices, meaning it’s restricted to people with computers.
What if you raise more than $100K?
With US$100,000 we can build a great mobile, accessible tool. But we are aiming high with this campaign - if we hit our stretch goal, Callaghan Innovation (a New Zealand funder) has committed to match the funding we raise with 1.4x multiplier. This will allow us to realise the full social change potential of Loomio and pursue some real technological innovations to make online collaboration and decision-making work at scale (such as full SMS and email integration, an extensible API, and rethinking the very structure of online discussions to enable large groups of people to work together effectively). In addition, we will deliver training materials and programmes so more people can learn to engage in fantastic participatory collaboration, and an exciting project to bring Loomio into schools.
What if you raise less than $100K?
If we are not fully funded, we will still work on all of these things and deliver as many as we can, but it will take more time if we have to take on other jobs to pay the bills and put food on the table. We’ve already put a useful open-source prototype tool out there, and that won’t go away. But in order to deliver the bigger vision of Loomio, both in terms of technology and social change, we need support.
I’m interested in the larger rewards involving premium services, but I want to talk to someone first. Who do I talk to?
We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line: [email protected]
Who do I talk to? I have feedback or need help!
We love feedback and we’re here to help! You can reach us at [email protected]
I have no money - is there any other way I help?
Yes! The most useful thing people can do is share the campaign as widely as possible, and put us in touch with anyone you think will be excited about it.
The world needs a better way to make decisions together. #Loomio is building it. You can help: http://love.loomio.org
Real democracy needs to include everyone. Democracy = collaboration. Help Loomio to build a truly inclusive platform that allows anyone, anywhere to participate in the decisions that affect their lives. http://love.loomio.org
Do you accept crypto-currencies (bitcoin/ dogecoin)?
why yes we do!
Can you support me to host my own version?
We have limited resources to support people, but you can join the Loomio community group to get peer support. Making self-hosting easier is a core goal of this campaign. We’re working to release a Docker file as soon as possible, which will make self-hosting much easier - setting up your own instance of Loomio in a matter of clicks!
How will you support Loomio financially in the long run? Will you sell my data? Are you going to sell out?
To date, the majority of our revenue has come from providing collaboration expertise to organisations using Loomio (e.g. working with City Councils to engage citizens in collaborative policy development). We also provide customised versions of Loomio to organisations and groups that want a home for online that reflects their identity and needs. We call this white-label version ‘Empowered by Loomio’.
Our long-term vision is that Loomio can be totally self-sufficient from voluntary contributions from our users. We have a mentality of abundance and a relationship of trust with our wider user community - people who can contribute financially do so, and people who cannot use Loomio for free.
We will never sell your data. We’ll never bombard you with advertising. We're in this for the long haul, and definitely not looking to be acquired.