It’s time we talked about Kickstarter.
Let me be frank. When I first learned about the site years ago, my cynicism went wild. At the time, I was irked by already successful film directors seeking funds for projects or an already professional band looking for $30,000 to record a new album. It all felt a tad bogus to me and not supporting those that Kickstarter was intended to back.
Then something changed.
I visited the site again a few years later and took the time to read up on a whole bunch of projects. My intrigue grew.
For those unaware of what Kickstarter is, it’s a website that accepts and promotes crowd-funded projects. Participants wishing to have their projects funded select a certain time frame to promote, choose an amount of money they wish to raise, and do a little bit of self-promotion (advertisements, project details, etc.). Should enough sponsors back a project in that pre-selected time period, the participant gets the funds. Once funded, particular obligations must be fulfilled for sponsors.
Dollars speak loudly on Kickstarter, as they represent the interest of the community. For example, about a month back, I wrote on the Pebble watch, which initially launched on Kickstarter. Just last week, the folks at Pebble announced its new watch, the Pebble Time (a colorized smartwatch that functions on a timeline-centric operating system), on Kickstarter. Since the proposal, Pebble has garnered $11 million. And there is still 25 days to go in the campaign. So far, this is the most backed project ever on the site.
I also wrote on the Neil Young-crafted Pono high-definition music player. This device also earned millions during the fundraising campaign – far exceeding expectations.
Perhaps my change of heart happened because I’ve become a fan of the TV show Shark Tank. On the show, five investors, or “the Sharks” as they’re called, listen to inventors and consider whether or not to assist in the funding of the project. The show is addictive. I’ve become quite fond of start-ups and observe the genesis of brands and the plethora of exceptional ideas around us.
Kickstarter allows for that as well. Now, I’m no longer a skeptic, but rather a backer of multiple projects that I believe in. I’m a mini-shark, and I love that.