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DC startup helping Dupont Underground's crowdfunding campaign

The abandoned trolley station beneath Dupont Circle is becoming a cultural destination, thanks to the nonprofit Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground—and thanks to a startup called Destination Crowd Capital.

Launched in December 2014, DCC advises nonprofits and businesses on the business of crowdfunding.

Cofounders Scott Wayne and Scott Popma have backgrounds seemingly tailor-made for neighborhood-based crowdfunding projects. Wayne has 25 years of experience in economic development through tourism; Popma is a lawyer and the resident expert on crowdfunding strategy. Together, they work with organizations that want to transform their neighborhoods through crowdfunding.

"We help nonprofits and businesses and organizations trying to attract [people]," Popma says. "Neighborhoods that don't want another Starbucks or another bank in their [space]."

In an era where Kickstarter and Indiegogo seem to have crowdfunding campaigns for just about anything (potato salad, anyone?), Wayne believes that DCC can act as an advisor. "We help craft strategies to raise money," he says.

"Crowdfunding campaigns themselves are no longer newsworthy," says Popma. "Building a campaign and funding in your market is."

First, DCC helps clients decide between a rewards-based strategy (donate money for swag) or an equity/debt strategy, and then steers clients to the right crowdfunding platform to use for their goals. "We don't provide the platform," Wayne says.

DCC also helps clients validate the market for the concept they want to crowdfund. "We identify target market groups and enable [clients] to tweak and test market their project," Wayne says.

For the Dupont Underground project, for example, DCC and the Arts Coalition of Dupont Underground opted for a rewards-based strategy to begin with. "[If] there are additional spaces and needs, there will be opportunities for debt or equity funding strategies," says Popma. "We're trying to figure out what the community wants and needs."

The campaign to transform the abandoned streetcar station beneath Dupont Circle is underway. As of press time, the project is nearly 20 percent funded, with more than two months remaining to meet the $50,000 funding goal.

DCC has other projects, outside of the District, in the works, including "a resort-type destination" and a "unique, urban destination."

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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