What is kickstarter.com ?

I admit my ignorance. After being introduced to kickstarter and reading through wikipedia I still can't make any sense of what this thing is. Has anyone used it? Someone wants to invite me to start a project there but I'm not sure what it means to be involved in such a thing. Sounds like asking/giving money from/to random people. What does it mean to back a project or start one?

Kickstarter functions as a sort of clearinghouse, middle man, where people with projects looking for funding can post their project, in the hopes of getting commitments for funding. Think of it as crowdsourced micro venture capital. A project has to set a funding goal, and if that goal isn’t met by whatever the deadline is, no funds are disbursed. I suppose it isn’t exactly like venture capital, because it isn’t apparent to me that the monetary contributors get a stake in the product or company, but I haven’t read the gory details either. The projects I’ve looked at, the people funding it get whatever the product is, i.e. they’re first in line for the output, perhaps at a discount, which provides some incentive. So somebody with an idea can get enough startup funding to get things rolling – but it’s typically small scale stuff (again, from what I’ve looked at).

I still don't fully understand the motives of the backers. The project organizers don't have to provide any solid credential but just some fun video of what they want to do. Yes it's $35 but it's still money. Maybe I'm too cheap. I need to read reviews about this kind of activity.

The backers are motivated by the fact that a project won't happen unless it's supported. If you want something to happen, you have to contribute to make it so!

Our Beat707 was a (successful) Kickstarter project.

-- The Rugged Audio Shield: Line In, Mic In, Headphone Out, microSD socket, potentiometer, play/record WAV files

on the other hand there are a lot of lofty goals by total noobs in any department ... IE in video games

Tim Schafer? Al Lowe? yea ok these guys have made a pile of top notch games over the decades, its a pretty safe bet ... 3 guys from Ohio promising the most epic RPG ever... maybe not so much

invest wisely

unfortunetly most people are not, and there is concern about how it will fare in the not to distant future

I might give it a try. Just not the “sleeping like a baby at night with a bag of others’ money” type of person myself.
I do have a project that leads to THE FPS game of the century type of claim but don’t know if it’s worth my time. :wink:

I've been tempted to give it a try but they only allow Americans, anyway I don't want to be printing t-shirts as rewards for a $20 donation.

There have been a lot of success stories though.


Rob

No mention of Kickstarter success stories would be complete without this all-time-winner:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/597507018/pebble-e-paper-watch-for-iphone-and-android

Yes, they really did raise $10 MILLION dollars, and you still have 22 hours to get it on it :)

Given that the Kickstarter founders get 5% of revenue, those guys made a cool $500k on 1 project.

-- The Gadget Shield: accelerometer, RGB LED, IR transmit/receive, speaker, microphone, light sensor, potentiometer, pushbuttons

One of the "secrets" of being successful on Kickstarter (my opinion, based on the successfully funded projects I've seen there) is that you need to either have a real product already in some kind of production, or you have a working prototype of some kind. If you have either one of those, and your product meets a need that enough people will contribute to, then you might have a successful funding happen.

That said, I have heard of people who've said that they had all of that, but then read the Kickstarter terms and decided it wasn't for them. I haven't read the terms myself, so I can't say for sure - so I wonder what the "catch" is ultimately? One has to wonder, because generally if you meet the above criteria, you can generally get funding other ways (although I don't believe Kickstarter requires anything like a business plan or other such paperwork, so maybe there's that going for it - though you should have this done if you are going for funding, no matter what the idea).

$10M for a watch, unbelievable.


Rob

Maybe I should dig a hole and start living underground from now on. This world has become too crazy for me. ;)

Can organizations like a manufacturer pledge too? Saves market research money if you just show customers what you want to make and see if there is any interest.

:) http://m.xkcd.com/1055/

Graynomad:
I’ve been tempted to give it a try but they only allow Americans…

Same here, I find it frustrating that only US Residents are eligible to start a project but anyone in the world can pledge to a project

There are in the UK also crowdfunding initiatives - all disclaimers apply as I have no experience with them - e.g. - http://www.pleasefund.us/ - - http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/ -

There are probably more

It's not just for Americans!

Marcus and Maddy from LittleBird have gotten their "Ninja Blocks" project funded, they needed $24,000 and got $102,935!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ninja/ninja-blocks-connect-your-world-with-the-web?ref=history

liudr: Maybe I should dig a hole and start living underground from now on. This world has become too crazy for me. ;)

Crazy? You're developing boards and investing your own money while projects like the Extracore get everyone else to invest money for it.

Who's the crazy one now?

It's not just for Americans!

Marcus and Maddy from LittleBird have gotten their "Ninja Blocks" project funded,

From the kickstarter guidelines

To be eligible to start a Kickstarter project, you need to satisfy the requirements of Amazon Payments: Be a US resident and at least 18 years of age with a social security number (or EIN), a US bank account, US address, US state-issued ID (driver’s license), and major US credit or debit card.

So I don't know how they did it.


Rob

The part I don't understand is funding for "Community Arts"

I proposed a calendar of photography (alternatively a coffee table book) of photography done by patients of chronic illness, the result of providing twenty four disabled patients with a basic digital camera and a series of classes. Note- though I have not taught in years, I am a certified vocational teacher (two years) and special education teacher (five years) specializing in adaptive hardware and occupational therapy for physically and mentally handicapped adults. I was a teacher in a residential school for severe and profound mentally retarded - that's how I paid for college. Also note that I know how to build a proposal.. my budgets in the workplace generally were in the range of four to six million dollars per quarter. The "investors" were to get free copies of the calendar/book, and remainders marketed. Though sales wouldn't be huge of course, the idea is simply to reward the investors with having done a "good thing". The proposal was refused by Kickstarter staff as "not providing enough long term income potential". Note that it wasn't the project didn't receive funding. It was refused outright and not even listed.

SIX "Burning Man" floats were approved as projects the same day. Note these same people have been approved and done Burning Man floats before as Kickstarter projects also. There's a serious problem with Kickstarter when this is the case. Just understand that the staff of Kickstarter has "pet" groups of people that WILL get their projects listed, and they steer the interest.. and appear to not have a lot of actual interest in the Arts, just in sending their friends tens of thousands of dollars so that they can go to Burning Man or New Zealand. If you peruse Kickstarter right now, there's a plethora of "projects" from college kids whose project is "I want to go to Burning Man". Understand Burning Man is a outdoor rock concert and festival. It's a party. It's also becoming more and more funded by kickstarter. A parade float for spoiled rich kids, who couldn't spare a little of the money they set aside for GHB and MDMA to build the float, and expect others to do it for them. Makes me physically sick. Note that I was proposing myself as the instructor and administrator, and the goal for funding was put at a very modest 5k. The funding would cover the cost of the cameras, transport for patients, and printing. I was not planning it as a for-profit venture, and my time was unpaid. The conclusion of the proposal also included progressing the project from a one-off to a registered nonprofit charity, to repeat the classes and start similar programs in other cities. This proposal was shot down.. but Burning Man floats and nonsense proposals from untrained teenagers for MMO's get approved. You can't imagine how much this angers me, after I had gone to Kickstarter based upon news stories about how they planned "to be the newest and most powerful way to fund community-driven art."

Please explain how a Burning Man float provides ANY income potential, and how it could possibly be more "Community Arts" driven than providing two dozen handicapped people their first ability to express themselves via art.. as a therapy to help them cope with severe chronic illness. I decided to propose the project because my photography has been very therapeutic for me.. depression and related MENTAL ramifications of severe long-term illness can be as bad or even worse than the physical condition the patient may be suffering. Coping with the mental side of chronic illness is as important (if not more so) than coping with the physical.

Kickstarter just plain pisses me off.

@focalist,

I understand the frustration but in the end there is some human and his/her gut feeling that makes a decission. But I assume there are more kickstarters alike websites in the US.? You could also use some abroad like the two I mentioned before:

At least those in the UK use the English language which makes it as easy for you as kickstart.com, why not give it a try...

Well, when it comes right down to it, I have decided that such an undertaking would require a bit more, as I would want to have a backup for myself "on staff". There's a reason I can't work.. and the reason is course that I get far too sick far too often. I am unreliable. I get sick as a dog at the drop of a dime, and if I were responsible for a busload of other patients at the time without backup, I would at a minimum be unable to teach, and at the worst end up in a condition where I need medical care and transport myself. Though the planned "field trips" primarily consisted of a local greenhouse/botanical garden, and the Mass/New Hampshire seacoast, even those distances would be a real problem if I became unable to coordinate the situation, with two dozen other people with medical issues relying on me. I've decided that if I were to do it, I would want to hire at least two assistants, at least one of which being either a paramedic or nurse. That's a lot of increased cost. Even then I would need a backup instructor also.. I have to admit to also not being reliable enough to have twenty four other people waiting for me as their teacher. Incredibly frustrating.. nature of the beast.

The reality is that I am too ill myself to be depended upon, and because of that, hiring "backups" to myself would be quite expensive, roughly tripling (if not more) the cost of trying to pull something like this off. Even with the commitment from several nurses I know (you get to know a lot of nurses when you spend as much time with docs as I do) it would be tough.

Without the up-front ability to create a registered charity, which is expensive.. I've decided that if this is going to happen, I'll be more likely to apply for some type of state or private grant. I'll be looking into it this fall, as well as discussing the project with the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America, the charity for my disease. The problem there is that they may want to restrict enrollment to Crohns/UC patients, and it's a pretty rare disease. I'd likely have to expand the program to metropolitan Boston, and to be honest, that would likely make the trips (including pickups and dropoffs) too long for me.. and therefore presumably too long for many of the patients that the program is intended to reach in the first place.

What's kind of funny is that now that I am thinking about it, it occurs to me that it would be easier to teach a class in Arduino to the patients (with admittedly less likely interest in most students, it takes a special kind of sickness to fall in love with Arduino). The other option is to restrict the "outings" and classes to indoor subjects and things local to a medical center. I have to say from experience.. you don't want to spend any more examining a hospital in high detail after you've been stuck in one for a month a time on a regular basis...

None of that plays into the Kickstarter rejection, however...