Chances are that you've used Kickstarter to fund something—a friend's music project, a local restaurant, maybe even a beloved movie or TV series—but there's a whole other level of crowdfunding that goes beyond throwing $10 or $15 to a project. According to the New York Times, the owners of the New York Wheel, the enormous Ferris wheel that's coming to the Staten Island waterfront, are looking to raise about $30 million through crowd-funding via a brokerage firm—a feat that the Times called "a Wall Street version of crowdfunding."
In a statement obtained by DNAInfo, New York Wheel CEO Rich Marin said, "We believe that the democratization of finance through efforts like crowdfunding is a good fit for a large populist attraction like New York Wheel."
But unlike a Kickstarter campaign, it's unlikely that this is something your average person can invest in; it's more like buying stocks than like giving a few bucks to bring Reading Rainbow back. The owners of the Wheel have partnered with North Capital Private Securities, a broker-dealer who will handle the fund-raising effort, and they're targeting a wealthier base of investors, according to the Times:
While some of the shares will be sold conventionally by brokers, Mr. Dowd said, other shares will be sold through 99Funding to "self-directed investors," those who sign up on their own. He said the offering was planned for a 90-day period before the year's end.…North Capital plans to add up to a dozen other crowdfunding sites to participate in the fund-raising, and expects to set a minimum investment size of $5,000 to $10,000, Mr. Dowd added. The attraction's owners have already raised about $450 million, including about $31 million through a previous round of selling stocks. So assuming you have that much cash to throw around, a chunk of the attraction could potentially be yours. The The New York Wheel, which is scheduled to open in 2017, has been touted as the savior of Staten Island.
· Crowdfunding a $500 Million Ferris Wheel, With a Wall Street Spin [NYT]
· New York Wheel Developers Try to Crowdfund $30M [DNAInfo]
· All New York Wheel Coverage [Curbed]