A few weeks ago, I was checking Stephen Fry’s Twitter feed and this tweet peaked my interest:
After I clicked on the link, I was directed to the “OpenVizsla” Open source USB Protocol Analyzer funding page on Kickstarter, The project aims to create a hardware USB signal reader which Stephen Fry invested in. And that was my first introduction to Kickstarter.
So What Is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is one of the largest funding platforms on the web; on any given day you will find a variety of creative, exciting and sometimes downright bizarre projects trying to get funding on the website. Practically anybody with an idea, yet cash stripped to implement it, can place take a chance and place his idea on the website.
So How Does Work?
Signing up and posting an idea for funding is completely free of charge. To post a project, you have to agree to the website’s terms and services, and they are pretty articulate about what kind of projects they will allow on their website. Their guidelines explicitly refuse charity fund raising or start-up funding, and emphasize that the main goal for the funding is that it be a finite project rather than a business venture. They also reject funding for the sake of hiring others to implement your idea, for example hiring programmers to design your killer website.
If your project meets their guidelines, then all you have to do is present your idea in the best way possible; many users use videos to explain their ideas. Then you need to define your funding goal and the period that this project will be up for funding and what will you be offering to your backers. People offer a variety of stuff to backers of their project. a girl traveling around the world in a sail boat offered to have backer’s names on her boat or to send them postcards from locations she visits so it could practically be anything you want.
Who Should Be Using It?
Taking a quick look at the most popular projects, you will quickly realize that the website is mostly popular with artists and crafters. In fact, the most successful project has been TikTok+LunaTik, a crafting project that would create a kit to make an iPod nano into a watch and managed to raise close to a $1 million. It’s really interesting how this might affect an always starved for cash scene, and how it will manage to green light ambitious art projects of the future. Programmers and geeks constitute the second group of people who have been successful at raising money through the website. A couple of alternatives to the website are Kiva and Go Big Network but they tend to attract a different crowd of investors.
What do you think of Kickstarter.com? Would you attempt to use it to raise money for any of your projects? Share with us your thoughts in the comment section below.