Nine OMG facts you probably didn't know about the crowdfunder Kickstarter
by Jackie A
5 months ago
Actually it was ten on April 28th, but who remembers every single birthday? (Ok, my sister and Emilie from The Midult). Anyway, over the past decade more than 163,303 creative projects have come to life, (see daily updated figures here) with billions pledged from more than 16 million backers. And it makes its money by taking 5% of all funds.
Its cofounder is an actual artist, not some hoodie-wearing computer scientist
Which is why Kickstarter focuses on the arts. Hurrah!
Says cofounder Perry Chen from New York (not Silicon Valley): "We focus on creative projects — music, film, technology, art, design, food and publishing — and within the category of crowdfunding of the arts, we are probably ten times the size of all of the others combined." Chan also made Kickstarter a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) in 2015 and donates 5% post tax profit to charity.
Three of its top ten best-funded projects have been old-fashioned games
There was the board game Kingdom Death: Monster, ($12m), another board game The 7th Continent, ($7m) and the card game Exploding Kitten ($8.7m). Me neither, but music and film combined attracts the most money, with over 56,000 successfully funded projects between them. About 10% of films accepted into the Sundance, SXSW and Tribeca Film Festivals are Kickstarter funded - the documentaries "Sun Come Up" and "Incident in New Baghdad" were even nominated for an Academy Award.
The most money ever raised ($20,338,986) wasn't for an art project - it was for a smartwatch called Pebble Time - which failed spectacularly
The original Pebble watch launched in 2013, a whole two years before the similar-looking Apple Watch. When the company announced fundraising in early 2015 for its updated $150 Pebble Time, it raised $1 million in 49 minutes. The much more expensive Apple Watch launched in April that same year and by December 2016, Pebble was history. The games console Ouya ($8.5m) and No 9 in Kickstarter's Top 10 most funded list, was a failure too.
The second most funded was also a gadget - a "Coolest Cooler" icebox with an inbuilt blender and sound system
Some guy called Ryan Grepper from Portland, Oregon came up with this bizarre idea and the Kickstarter community went crazy for it, raising $13m in the summer of 2014. Then the problems started. How to get this "party in a box" out to 62,642 backers? Three years later some were still waiting, and Grepper had the Oregon Department of Justice on his back for possible unlawful trade violations. Be careful what you wish for. At least the company is still trading.
Ten weeks ago an animation series about dungeons and dragons raised $4.7 million in 24 hours - a record breaker
Not a single Kickstarter campaign this year has raised that much. Now these Hollywood voiceover actors from a company called Critical Role have another 'too successful' problem - manufacturing and shipping nearly 89,000 premium rewards to fans who eventually gave $11.3 million to fund a whole new series - that's a lot of show merchandise, script pages, custom artwork and postage bills.
It's not all good news - Kickstarter once allowed a book to be funded that encouraged sexual assault
Back in the Dark Ages of June 2013, some sleaze bag called Ken Hoinsky wrote a guidebook to seducing women entitled Above the Game, funded by Kickstarter. Despite receiving a 'significant alert', Kickstarter failed to pull the project and was eventually forced to write a letter of apology, place a blanket ban on "seduction guides" and donate $25,000 to an anti-sexual violence charity. Guess what? Amazon sells a "rewritten" version today. And the first comment under it is: "Somebody really needs to help this guy understand that NO MEANS NO."
Get with the programme Bezos.
Meanwhile, the UK website is currently funding a "bullet necklace knife"
Which is exactly what it sounds like - a small knifehidden inside a long bullet on a chain that's already garnered £1,853, more than 200% over its goal. For "self-defense (sic) fanatics" and "the perfect complement to your collection and your lifestyle". A bit like a deadlier version of the potato salad man, this wasn't what Kickstarter was set up for. But with knife crime at an all time high, shouldn't someone be vetting this stuff? They'll be funding guns next.
About 13% of projects never receive a single pledge.
Not a penny.
Yet if you ever wondered what the consumer today really wants, its website is mandatory reading. My current faves are these waterproof shoes knitted from ocean plastic (already 2088% funded). I once pledged $200 to G-Ro, the carry-on luggage company with the weirdly big wheel. It came a bit late but it retails now for over $400 and they threw in a 10,000 mAh power bank and location tracker (neither of which I use).
One happy customer.