Remember the PayPal Mafia? Back in the day, that group was quite happy to reap the decidedly earthly benefits a most massive exit (with the exception of Elon Musk, whose SpaceX has been signing contracts with NASA) can bring.
After having cleaned up on Earth, PayPal is now setting its sights squarely on extraterrestrial commerce. The payment processing firm has announced a partnership with the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), with the intention of fulfilling “the possibilities of travel, tourism, and commerce beyond our small blue dot.” The project will be powered by Canadian crowdfunding platform FundRazr, and brings new meaning to the company’s tagline: “Fund anything. Anywhere.”
The campaign itself is called the “Curiosity Movement”, and softens donors with its pitch that “improving life now and in the future is paramount for a thriving civilization here and in worlds beyond.”
It’s already been a high-profile summer for FundRazr. After being associated with a series of front-page causes, such as raising money to pay the hospital bills of shooting victims in Aurora, Colorado, and young brain cancer victims, the company was named Most-Promising Start-Up at B.C’s Technology Impact Awards.
Vancouver-based Fundrazr, which was founded in 2009, works by letting users create a “storyline” page that can be shared on social networks, emailed or embedded as a widget. The company generates revenue by taking a 5% transaction fee from each campaign, something they have now done more than 30,000 times.
CEO and founder Daryl Hatton talked about the project recently.
“We are very proud to make it easier for earthlings to donate and support space sciences while receiving some very cool perks,” he said. “PayPal Galactic and SETI’s Curiosity Movement are discovering the potential of the universe. With FundRazr’s new social funding technology contribution, the next groundbreaking SETI project could fund and result in groundbreaking discoveries beyond our world.”
All crowdfunding campaigns have perks for their donors, but the SETI fundraiser goes above and beyond, including promises that you’ll be “one of the first people on earth to be notified when SETI makes contact” and that you might “live the life of Jody Foster’s character, hang with scientists and explore that first contact.”