The most famous of all the crowdfunding sites is US pioneer Kickstarter. The platform is aimed at creative businesses and projects, raised just over £2m in its first month, and has signed up 45,799 backers to date.
But if you're looking into crowdfunding as an option for your business, there are many more platforms available - some even homegrown. Many of them have different guidelines and look for different returns for investors – equity or rewards for example, so you'll have to find the right one to suit your project.
Here are eight of the major players, hand-picked by entrepreneurs' organisation Prelude:
Launched back in February 2011, Exeter-based Crowdcube claims to be the world's first equity crowdfunding website. It has just been awarded FSA approval, so it's a pretty safe bet for first-time crowdfunders.
Who's it aimed at? Crowdcube is best suited to ambitious start-ups looking for significant investment to support a growth strategy.