We have all been very impressed by the success of Kickstarter and the alternative way of funding it gives to artists, movie producers or startups, I contributed myself to a few projects, from Whit Scott’s film Rolled that was very successful and allowed Whit to make his dream come true to Pebble Watch (still waiting for my watches). Pebble wanted to raise $100k and instead got a whopping $10million. Even books get financed on Kickstarter, Seth Godin had a goal of $40,000 for his new book and sold for $287,342 from 4,242 backers…
Singer Amanda Palmer had a $100k goal and raised $1,192,793 instead for her new album. If you haven’t you should really watch her TED talk and the video on her project page it’s very interesting to see how she did it. We discussed it at TED with Philippe Starck that I was seating next to when we watched Amanda live and we disagreed. I thought it was awesome and Philippe said 1) “nothing new” many bands raised like this and 2) it’s like begging and that sucks. I don’t know why being financed by your fans or people who like your product idea sucks, sadly we did not have the time to continue the conversation but I will meet Philippe again and ask him. He definitely knows a thing or two about creation, but might not know how Kickstarter is becoming a huge movement and differs from… a homeless begging in the street (which is respectable in many ways too).
I’m amazed as an entrepreneur that you can raise millions without any dilution or having to leave with investors and a board for the rest of the company life.
Kickstarter’s CEO Perry Chen has an open invite to speak at LeWeb London June 5-6, in case his team or Perry reads this, I really hope you can make it or send a representative of the company.
I also funded a failed project from a friend, POP launched by Jamie Siminoff. It’s something todo with the new iPhone5 connector that prevented Jamie from launching it (I hear Apple did not like it) and that’s the dark side of Kickstarter, the page doesn’t say it failed and I never received any notification I would never get the product. I am not sure if my credit card was debited or not, I forgot, and I am not sure either there was any kind of refund. Jamie is a great entrepreneur so no doubt it’s going to be all right but Kickstarter doesn’t do a great job at communicating with the backers I think. I might have missed an email but it clearly makes me wonder about how reliable are the projects.
Kickstarting without Kickstarter
What strikes me these days is that many projects finance themselves “a la kickstarter”, it even looks like kickstarter, but they do it without kickstarter. A great example Axelle pointed to me is Everlane launching their Canada site using crowd funding. First, think about it, we’re not talking about an individual without means here but a company already apparently successful in other markets, which is interesting. Then look how they do it: the widget on the side looks and behaves like kickstarter, looking for backers and promising them advantages deepening on how much they contribute.
In other words, Everlane think (and likely has) enough of a community, customers and online juice to make them prepay their Canada launch and doesn’t need the promotion that Kickstarter brings to crowdsource projects.
The thing is, they did not need Kickstarter, they are Kickstarting “a la Kickstarter” without Kickstarter.
Is that the beginning of a movement? There are many big enough brands online that could do this. Look at Seth Godin and his book I mentioned earlier, did he need Kickstarter? Probably not.
What do you guys think? Will Kickstarter be there only for the projects and brands that don’t have a community yet to support them and we will see thousands of crowdsourced project that do have a community use the same principle but without Kickstarter?