ChipIn Goes Facebook

ChipIn on FacebookOne of Hawaii’s tech startups, fundraising facilitator ChipIn, has unveiled its Facebook Application.

ChipIn, which was effusively profiled in Hawaii Business Magazine (with several follow-up pieces), didn’t seem to be getting much traction outside of Hawaii. I seem to recall it made a blip on the radar after the October 2006 earthquake with an Big Island quake fund… but the effort petered out with only 10 percent of the goal raised.

ChipIn has been working hard to get in front of people, though, and has developed “widgets” for other services, including the once seemingly unstoppable MySpace. But the incredible success of Facebook Platform — going against MySpace’s closed, pay-to-play model — gives me hope that ChipIn will catch on.

Facebook applications are incredibly viral. You’re told whenever your friends add a new toy to their profile, and you’re regularly prompted to add it, too. Annoying, perhaps… except when it turns out to be something cool, funny, or useful.

Facebook, a social network, brings together people who know each other. ChipIn helps people who know each other put their money together. And unlike the anarchy of MySpace or even ChipIn’s own “widgets” on random blogs, ChipIn’s Facebook integration adds a level of credibility. The application trusts people you trust.

In its Facebook application, at least, ChipIn is emphasizing fun over charity. “The free, quick, and easy way to collect money for parties, trips, events, causes, and more!” This is smart. (The main ChipIn website only mentions fundraising in the abstract.) Facebook is already used to keep in touch and coordinate events. Now users can add ChipIn to the mix to pay for drinks, a big baby shower gift, even airfare.

Even better, after setting up a ChipIn event, the Facebook application still gives you an embed code and a hyperlink that you can share and use elsewhere.

And ChipIn founder Olin Lagon (that’s his Facebook profile) isn’t wasting any time. He’s already set up a ChipIn fund at Facebook to benefit College Connections.

And ChipIn’s Facebook launch made TechCrunch… perhaps a first for a Hawaii-based startup.

I see they’ve got a blog, too. Good stuff!

UPDATE: Lucas Gonze’s Webjay made TechCrunch last year.

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