By visiting Web sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, you can give money to any number of causes. These Web sites collect small amounts from many individuals in what is known as crowdfunding to finance everything from business start-ups to charitable causes to art projects.
Now, a San Francisco start-up, SunFunder, is hoping that the collective power of the crowd can help bring a bit of clean, renewable energy to people living off the electric grid in rural areas of Africa and Asia. Since its crowdfunding site made its debut last July, the company has raised $50,000 from about 300 investors to finance four business ventures that sell solar-powered products in these areas, according to SunFunder’s founder, Ryan Levinson. Anyone is eligible to join the site — so far investors have come from 18 different countries — and the minimum investment is $10.