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Crowdtilt opens API to bring group-funding to any site

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Crowdtilt, a Y Combinator-backed startup that makes it easy for friends and other groups to pool money, is opening up its technology to sites across the Internet.

On Wednesday, the company announced the beta launch of its API, which will enable third parties to use Crowdtilt’s group payments capabilities.

Since the startup launched earlier this year, users have been able to go to Crowdtilt’s site to create a campaign and solicit funds from friends and others. But with its crowdfunding API, companies from vacation home rentals to e-commerce sites to startups looking for capital will be able to plug that capability into their own sites and apps.

For example, a vacation rental site could use the API to let friends group pay for the cost of a rental online and skip the hassle of collecting payment after the fact. Or an online retailer could use it to let friends share the cost of pricier gift. The startup says new crowdfunding models permitted under the JOBS Act can also be powered through the API.

CEO and co-founder James Beshara said the API could power payments in an existing app, so that six friends could book a rental together on Airbnb, or it could enable 5,0000 people to join forces for a pre-sale of a yet-to-be produced product within
“The launch of the API is a huge step towards powering crowdfunding and this new type of dynamic commerce throughout the world,” he said. “And it’s a big deal because we think crowdfunding is the next web phenomenon, and it’s just getting started.”

Developers can integrate various payment processors, such as Stripe, Balanced and Braintree, into their applications. And the API includes collaboration tools like comments, messaging and updates. Down the road the company will charge a fee, but for now it says it will be free for the invitation-only beta version.

The announcement is timely given the boom in crowdfunding options online. And, aside from the traditional Kickstarter-like sites, FriendFund provides an online tool for pooling money and social commerce site Fancy and eBay (s EBAY) enable group gifting. But Crowdtilt’s API brings that idea to a broader set of use cases and applications.

The company has raised $2.1 million from SV Angel, Crunchfund, Highline Ventures and other individual investors.