Kickstarter is an American company founded in 2009 that aims to fund projects through online via crowd funding. Crowd funding is a type of crowdsourcing wherein the user solicit funds from the web via donations and sponsorships. In Kickstarter, they aim to fund certain creative projects such as indie films, magazines, games and etc through solicitation, donations and sponsorship. To clarify, those who give them funds are not investors who are expecting a return of investment. However, in exchange of supporting the projects, sponsors are given thank you notes or thanksgiving dinner or sample products and the like but never monetarily.
Kickstarter was created on April 28, 2009 by Yancey Strickler, Charles Adler and Perry Chen and has won as the best website of 2011. So what Kickstarter specifically do is to look for monetary sponsors from the public through pledges and is paid via Amazon Payments. Since it’s a private, for profit company, Kickstarter takes 5% of the funds raised and Amazon charges an additional 3-5%. The perk of collaborating with Kickstarter is that it only supports and raise funds for your projects and it does not hold any ownership to your work. The only thing is that once Kickstarter funds your project, it shall be archived and accessible to the public and cannot be removed or edited one place on the site.
For Kickstarter sponsors, there is no guarantee that both ends will meet wherein the outcome of a certain projects will satisfy of that of the backer or sponsor. That is why it is very important for backers to carefully scrutinize projects that they are going to fund. Project leaders are also warned by Kickstarter that they can be subjected for legal damages if projects are not delivered on time. However, there is no guarantee for a successful project but creators are advised to plan properly prior to looking for implementation funds.
Categories and Guidelines
Projects are categorized into 13 and 36 subtypes under each category such as: Comics, Dance, Film, Art, Design, Video, Food, Fashion, Games, Photography, Theater, Music, Technology and Publishing. Among these categories, video, music and film account for the most highly financed project
Like most of the companies, there are certain guidelines for project producers to abide. First is that only backers can fund projects. Second is that the project must fit the 13 categories aforementioned and project creator must follow strictly the company’s rules and avoid the said prohibited acts, including causes and charity campaigns and projects.
For projects that involve designing a product or producing a hard material or hard copy, additional requirements are added such as
- Requiring a Physical prototype
- Prohibition of using three- dimensional demonstrations and simulations regarding a
- Requiring a Manufacturing plan
- Limiting awards to items relevant to the project
The said rules and prohibitions are set to set the backer’s mind that it is not for order or for sales but for sponsorships. To encourage both the creator, backer and kickstarter that the website is an avenue for creativity, the creator are required to set goals, describe the challenges and risks of a project. This is also a way of educating the public regarding a certain project and to encourage the public and community to contribute.