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updated 2/19/2014 2:47:47 PM ET 2014-02-19T19:47:47

If you are looking to raise money for your company -- or keep up at cocktail parties -- you should have a few facts about crowdfunding up your sleeve.

Crowdfunding is a way of raising money for a new venture by soliciting small donations from many people online.  The biggest platforms in the industry are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. In the last five years, crowdfunding has grown from a tool for off-beat bands to raise money from fans for an album they can’t afford to produce to a way for some really high tech inventors to get access to capital for their new, innovative startups.

Consider the Pebble watch. It’s a customizable, digital wristband that tells time, runs apps and sinks with your smartphone. The founding team set out hoping to raise $100,000 and raised more than $10 million on Kickstarter.

Related: This Site Allows Celebrities to Crowdfund for Causes in Real Time

Clarity, a San Francisco entrepreneur-advisor matchmaking service, teamed up with Column Five Media  to build the infographic below with a summary of what crowdfunding is, how quickly it has grown as an industry in recent years and some quick facts about the next generation of crowdfunding.

Copyright © 2013 Entrepreneur.com, Inc.

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