For many years, a good idea couldn’t get you very far unless you knew the right people, or had a large sum of money. Of course there are exceptions, but most of these ideas got filtered into “as seen on TV” products and were either dismissed or failed to sell. That is not the case anymore. Crowdfunding has become a real option for inventors, artists, and engineers. Kickstarter.com allows for regular people like you and me to put their good ideas up on the site and request funds to design, develop, produce, and distribute the item. This could be anything from a video game, to a new piece of technology, or even the restoration of an old park. Anyone can donate to the project to help it reach its set goal, and in some cases, reach far beyond their original goal.
In 2013, 3 million people donated $480 million to Kickstarter projects. That is $1,315,520 pledged a day, and works out to $913 a minute. That is a very active and giving community that is using Kickstarter. It is also a very diverse group with the donations coming from 214 countries on all 7 continents. This makes placing an item on Kickstarter a good marketing technique, simply due to the amount of people who will see it with the intention of putting money towards it.
Some other facts:
- 807,733 people backed more than one project
- 81,090 people backed 10 or more projects
- 975 people back more than 100 projects
- 19,911 projects were successfully funded in 2013
Kickstarter has certainly been responsible for some of the great releases and designs of 2013. The Pebble Smartwatch lead the wearable market in quality, The Ouya Android console was the first of its kind, and the Oculus Rift brought virtual reality to gamers. It wasn’t just technology though. Students build classrooms out of shipping containers, made a photo exhibition on the berlin wall, and saved closing independent theatres. Speaking of theatres, backers also brought the popular show “Veronica Mars” back to life by funding a movie.
As you can see, there is no limit to what people can do when they care about a cause or there is demand for a product. I have personally backed probably about 15 projects on Kickstarter, and don’t regret any of them. This has given innovation a much needed boost and brought the engineer out of all of us. Many great ideas lay dormant in people who felt they were unlikely or unable to go anywhere with them. For years they were right, but these new funding methods allow these ideas to reach the world.