You’ve had this idea in your head, but there’s just one big problem: you don’t have the money and resources to make your dream a reality, so you have to turn to others for financial help. But it might be tough to try and sell a bank or your ultra-rich relative on your idea. So, what’s a hopeful entrepreneur to do? Your best bet may be to find others who share the same interests and have been waiting for an idea such as yours. What better way to get your dream moving than to be backed by other supporters? Kickstarter provides a means for such support.
What is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is a web-based crowd-funding platform used to fund work related to projects like films, games, technology and other creative projects. Kickstarter collects money pooled from many individuals who wish to contribute to and support a certain cause. Each project creator sets the project’s money goal, as well as a designated timeframe to reach the project’s funding goal.
While it may seem risky to give away money to just any stranger with a neat idea, Kickstarter creates a safe and low-risk environment for supporters with its all-or-nothing funding policy. With this policy, pledgers are not charged until a project successfully reaches its funding goal by the end of the deadline. Thus, if a project with a $10,000 goal only manages to raise $5,000 within its designated time frame, individuals will not be charged, even if they have contributed a significant amount.
Project creators may offer incentives to motivate individuals to pledge larger dollar amounts. For example, anyone who pledges $100 may get an extra item with the finished product. Anyone who pledges $500 may receive a limited or collector’s edition, while anyone who pledges $1,000 or more may get special privileges, such as a credited mention or a chance to meet the developers.
Does it actually work?
Since launching in April 2009, Kickstarter has helped raise more than $350 million to fund over 30,000 creative projects. Projects were pledged by more than 2.5 million people. What’s more, of all the projects that reached 20 percent of the intended goal, approximately 82 percent went on to become fully funded. And of all the projects that raised 60 percent of the intended goal, approximately 98 percent went on to become fully funded. So far, about 44 percent of all projects have successfully met their funding goals.
Kickstarter may be used to fund creative projects of various types, including art, comics, dance, design, fashion, film, food, games, music, photography, publishing, technology and theater. Of the 13 project categories, the music segment funded the most projects with 5,067 in 2012. Games, however, raised the most money in 2012 with $83 million. Other popular categories include art, film, music, publishing and theater, which each boasted more than 1,000 funded projects in 2012.
Take, for instance, Ouya—a project launched in July 2012. Ouya is an Android- powered video game console designed to allow independent developers to produce and publish video games from the comfort of their own homes. Since the video game industry imposes high barriers to entry for new developers, essentially barring many individuals from ever stepping foot in the market, this project was considered a revolutionary breakthrough. In fact, Ouya was supported by so many backers that it received over $2.5 million in pledges within 24 hours, far exceeding the initial funding goal of $950,000.
Ouya shattered the previous record for the fastest time a project completed its funding goal. At the end of its one-month campaign, Ouya raised $8,596,474 from 63,416 backers. As games become less expensive to make, Ouya is expected to compete in the fierce gaming market by providing consumers with games that are less expensive to buy.
Games, however, are not the only Kickstarter- funded projects to go up against the likes of other entertainment juggernauts. In the film category, nearly 900,000 individuals have pledged over $100 million for independent features, documentaries, shorts, webseries and other film and video projects within the past three years. While $100 million is the typical budget for a single blockbuster film, that same amount has been used to produce more than 8,000 indie films. Overall, at least 86 Kickstarter-funded films have been released in theaters, while at least 16 Kickstarter- funded films have been broadcast through television networks such as HBO, PBS, Showtime and others.
When it comes to humanitarian efforts, in 2012, Kickstarter helped various journalists raise money to travel to different portions of the world to cover topics such as the state of post-revolution Libya, the investigation of gender-based violence in rural Bangladesh and the investigation of a mystery epidemic in Central America. A project was also launched to help establish a center in Baghdad where people can socialize with others about computers, technology, science, digital/electronic art and other common interests.
In 2012, a total of $319,786,629 was pledged. That’s an approximate 221 percent increase from the total pledged in 2011. What’s more, Kickstarter drew 86 million unique visitors in 2012, bringing 709 million page views to the website. Those numbers are 252 percent and 279 percent increases, respectively, over 2011. Overall, approximately 2,241,475 pledgers backed projects in 2012, a 134 percent increase from the number of backers in 2011. The large percentage growths indicate that Kickstarter funded-projects are not only becoming more popular with the public, but are also becoming more successful.
Give it a shot. Sharing your idea with people of similar interests, as well as people willing to pledge money to support your goals, can help turn your dream into reality. And though Kickstarter-launched projects may only be known to your closest friends and relatives at first, your inner circle may then share your project with their circle of friends. Today, this proves to be even more possible with society’s increasing use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Before you know it, dozens, hundreds and even thousands of other people may know of and support your cause.
Kickstarter provides the ideal environment to share and promote creative projects. The site creates a safe and low-risk environment for both creators and pledgers with its allor- nothing policy. Gifted creators have shown that their projects have as much to offer as famous and commercialized products. The increases in money pledged and backer activity show that Kickstarter is stronger than ever and suggest that trends will only continue to improve.
If you have an idea you’ve been dying to share with the world, but you are struggling to get it off the ground, try giving this crowd-funding platform a chance. Like-minded individuals can help you reach your goals. And if your idea is the one they’ve been waiting for, they might even help you exceed your own expectations.