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Donald Trump gets into crowdfunding

May 7, 2013: 3:57 PM ET

130507133059-donald-trump-340xaThe Donald is willing to fund anything (literally).

FORTUNE -- Donald Trump is putting his stamp of approval, but not his name, on a new crowdfunding platform that is scheduled to launch tomorrow. He's also an investor in the site, and each week will personally contribute to one or more projects that strike his fancy.

It's called FundAnything, and was the brainchild of The Learning Annex founder Bill Zanker.

"People in tech and some Brooklyn hipsters know about crowdfunding, but it hasn't been brought to the masses yet," Zanker explains. "This is a very big idea -- like eBay or online dating -- and we're just in the beginning stages."

In many ways, FundAnything resembles existing crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. It offers users a way to raise money from other users, and takes a matchmaking commission (5% for fully-funded projects, 9% for projects that don't meet their goal). What's different, however, is that FundAnything neither screens projects nor has any real exclusions. For example, FundAnything projects could include tech inventions, new uniforms for a school sports team, helping out someone with a medical emergency, etc.

The other difference is Trump's involvement. Not only will he personally back new projects each week -- tomorrow he'll unveil the recipients of his first personal investments --  but he'll also promote those choices via his Twitter feed (which currently has 2.2 million followers).

Zanker understands that Trump is a polarizing political figure, but does not believe such sentiments extend to the business world.

"Everyone knows Donald is a genius businessman,"  Zanker says. "We're not talking about politics here. If you want to fund anything, there is no better person in the world to have supporting you than Donald Trump."

As for FundAnything's business model, expect the commissions to be just the start. Zanker says the site is planning live events -- such as how to raise money for real estate ventures -- and that it already has people on the ground to expand into non-U.S. markets. When asked if the site would expand to equity-based crowdfunding once the SEC sets such rules, Zanker was noncommittal.

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Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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