Précis - The crowd-funding website Kickstarter is set to launch in the UK on 31 October.
What? - Kickstarter is a crowd-funding platform that enables people and companies to raise money from the general public for creative projects. Whilst Kickstarter allows people around the world to pledge to projects, traditionally only US citizens have been allowed to submit and run projects. This changed on 31 October when Kickstarter opened its doors to projects originating in the UK.
So What? - Following its launch in 2009, Kickstarter has gone from strength to strength. The website allows users to create a project and set target funds and a deadline for raising those funds. Visitors to the website can then pledge any amount they wish towards the project. If the target funds are not reached then no money is collected. As at 18 October 2012 Kickstarter had seen 74,354 launched projects (3,311 currently live), with a funding success rate of 43.81%. Kickstarter has helped raise a total of $388 million to date.
Kickstarter has seen a lot of traction within the technology industry with many tech start-ups seeing it as an alternative to venture capital or bank funding. Technology is the fifth highest funded category on Kickstarter, and is the highest funded category amongst live projects. Perhaps the best example of Kickstarter's application for tech start-ups is the Pebble Watch developed by Eric Migicovsky. As at 18 October 2012, the Pebble Watch project had over 68,000 backers and had total pledged funds of $10,266,845 (it had $1 million pledged within 24 hours). Other successful tech projects include the oil-spill cleaning robot Protei, Diaspora's social networking software, the Gameduino adapter and TikTok watches (which were funded to 6000%, earning $941,718 on a target of $15,000).
Although not all projects achieve their funding targets (56.19% of projects were unsuccessful as at 18 October 2012), there is no doubt that Kickstarter is revolutionising the way technology start-ups are obtaining seed funding. Its launch in the UK will provide UK tech start-ups with a new and novel funding alternative.