eHarmony Engineer Creates Crowdfunding Site for Science Projects

By Devon Glenn 

A crowdfunding platform called ScitechStarter aims to help science and technology innovators raise money for projects that could change the world. Expected to launch in early 2013, this Kickstarter clone comes from Oxnard, California, where founder Joseph Baylon, who is also an eHarmony engineer, is using his skills for a different kind of matchmaking.

“I have a passion for science and technology and I believe they are the driving force of the economy, so I thought it would be worthwhile to create a site that focuses on smart innovative projects,” said Baylon.

In a phone interview, the 31-year-old developer told SocialTimes that he also hopes to retire in the next five years. (Baylon is already behind schedule — he originally planned to be retired by the age of 30.)

Much like other crowdfunding platforms, ScitechStarter will give project creators a platform to describe their projects, reach out to the public using social media, and then meet a fundraising goal by collecting payments online.

Project backers on ScitechStarter will be rewarded for participating, but the rewards will not be monetary. The company suggests that the creators offer donors things like “prototypes or models of products developed during the project, signed first copies of a science fiction novel, a meet-and-dine event with inventors, limited-edition gadgets, newly-discovered planets named after the funder.”

The platform is intended to be an alternative to government grants, which are competitive and time-consuming to earn. (As for Baylon, he’s bootstrapping his own project.)

ScitechStarter also fills a niche that’s currently missing on Kickstarter. Although the latter has found success with gadgets and games, Kickstarter CEO and co-founder Perry Chen recently stated that the company will focus its efforts on creative projects like films and music.

Ahead of the site’s launch, ScitechStarter is accepting listing applications for new projects in the following categories:

Aerospace, Archaeology, Astronomy, Biology, Botany, Chemistry, Computer Science, Earth Science, Electronics, Energy, Engineering, Environmental, Fisheries Science, Forensics, Forestry Science, Genetics, Linguistics, Materials Science, Mathematics, Medicine, Nanotechnology, Nuclear Technology, Physics, Robotics and A.I., Science Fiction, Security Engineering, Social Science, Software Engineering, Systems Engineering, and Zoology.

Added Baylon, “While there are other crowdfunding websites that cater to scientific projects and research, ScitechStarter differentiates itself from those sites via the broad array of scientific fields that we serve.”