Sony launches crowdfunding site for its employees

1 Jul 2015

Sony has created a crowdfunding site called First Flight aimed at helping employees get innovative projects off the ground.

In a move that could become a norm one day throughout the corporate world, Japanese electronics giant Sony has created a crowdfunding platform to find and finance projects developed by employees.

The crowdfunding platform, called First Flight, comes hot on the heels of the creation of the FES Watch, a device made entirely out of e-paper material by five Sony engineers who had been investigating e-paper as a fabric. They created the watch after Sony initiated a company policy to allow employees to work on side projects and the company would provide a portion of the funding.

First Flight currently offers pre-orders for two projects, the FES watch and the MESH Start DIY kit.

A third project called the HUIS Remote Controller, an all-in-one remote, is already 20pc of the way toward a 5m yen (US$40,820) goal.

As we said before, crowdfunding is quickly becoming a rite of passage for executives in a growing number of companies and has been embraced by the venture capital community as a way of testing the water on prospective investments.

For companies like Sony, which have become in some respects too big to be nimble and are dealing with major transformation issues, giving employees the freedom and flexibility to crowdfund innovative new products might just be the way to go.

Sony image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years