Well the moment has finally arrived. Kickstarter, the US based crowdfunding platform is launching in the UK.
People in the UK will be able to launch projects on Kickstarter starting this autumn! More info soon! <3 <3 <3
— Kickstarter (@kickstarter) July 9, 2012
We first came across Kickstarter around three years ago in 2009, when the platform first launched. As far as we thought at the time, this was a place where creative, slightly wacky or unusual projects, which would never receive mainstream funding, could pitch similar creative people for direct funding.
Generally, people would post an idea, like creating a zany 8 bit jazz album, or a niche documentary and then people could sponsor the project with their cash to make it happen.
In return for your cash commitment, a first edition copy of the final result, a name in the credits or some other reward was offered depending on how much you were prepared to commit. If the project didn’t meet it’s funding goal by the target date, usually 30 days, your money would not transfer and the project would fail.
Some projects failed miserably, some narrowly failed and some just about succeeded. But no-one raised a fortune.
Then suddenly, in November 2010, everything changed.
When Scott Wilson of Minimal posted a design for an iPod Nano based watch called the Lunatik and Tik Tok, through social media, everything went ballistic. With an initial target of $15,000 in 30 days, within an hour, it became apparent that it would hit the target comfortably. In fact, it became apparent within 24 hours, that it would obliterate it. You can read our blog post of what actually happened at the time here.
[blockquote]Within just 30 days, a fairly simple funky watch strap had raised just under $1 million.[/blockquote]
Since then numerous project have busted the million dollar barrier. The largest Kickstarter project so far has raised more than $10 million and these size of projects are becoming more and more frequent. As we predicted, the traditional way of raising funding, where you give a large percentage of your profits to an ‘investor’ are coming to a welcome end.
The latest big winner, is an open source games console, which intends to disrupt the major games console manufacturers. It has raised $8 million+.
Clearly, the customers are taking over the supply chain.
The big deal for many of us however, happens on 31st October. Until now, if you are from the UK and want to get involved in Kickstarter, you have a problem.
The system only fully supports US based suppliers and customers. When we backed the Lunatik and TikTok project, we had to set up an Amazon account and then pay a large international shipping fee to get the product. In order to set up a project, you ideally needed to have a US based account. The final product we received, which is excellent, was manufactured in China, though it was shipped from the US. This limited the scope for UK participants.
From 31st October, Kickstarter finally arrives in the UK.
Now, we can start our own projects and entrepreneurs can gain a platform to directly raise funding from the true investors – their future customers.
So, no more Dragon’s Den and hopefully, we can start to forget the famous phrase “I’ll give you the whole £30,000 for 50% of your company” when we all know this actually means,
“I’ll give you £30k for your persistence, ingenuity, determination, design, intellectual property, future products and for using all your savings to get it to the point where it is ready to reap the profits. In fact, I’ll give you £30k to own your entire future, because I have £30k and you don’t”
Roll on 31st October 2012.
Do you think you will use crowdfunding for funding or have you already backed a project, we would be delighted to hear your stories below?