Kickstarter and Crowdfunding: Where Are We Headed?

I’ll bet you’ve noticed all the Kickstarter hubbub, these days. I sure have!

We’re seeing more and more brilliant offerings coming from that direction, and so many of them are the seeds of viable and successful businesses.

My favorites? The Zombies, Run! smartphone app that my partner and I use faithfully for our morning runs, which raised nearly 6 times what it needed to move forward. Kristin & Shannon’s Versalette, a project I still wish I’d gotten in on so that I’d already have a few in my closet, which raised more than triple its goal. And Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception: Why Make Art? experimental book publishing project - which was successfully funded in just the first few hours it was live. (It went on to raise more than 7 times its goal before it wrapped up — over $200,000 instead of the original $40,000.)

It’s incredible what an enthusiastic community can do. There’s obviously something important going on with Kickstarter, and more likely, with crowdfunding at large. If I remember correctly, Kickstarter projects were once restricted to art and music projects, requiring a certain spin to create something that could then turn into a business. And although I can’t find that snippet of FAQ any longer — was it ever there, I wonder? — we have to admit that any art project with a large enough and engaged enough audience has the potential to provide value and connection on an ongoing basis. Done the right way, that certainly means a potential for new business adventures.

Kickstarter — and other crowdfunding initiatives — are clearly becoming a major resource for small, remarkable, creative businesses (and businesses-to-be). So where might it take us next? What opportunities are there for us to explore? What are the best uses for this kind of tool in an Upmarket business’s arsenal? What do we need to know, as we step into that space?

I started asking these questions, and I’ve been getting a lot of fascinating responses. We’re going to start sharing them with you over the next few weeks. I’d love it if you’d share with us, as well — your experiences in crowdfunding, your favorite Kickstarter projects (including other crowdfunding platforms, too), and questions you’ve asked yourself about the whole subject. It’s time to really explore this thing.

Stay tuned, folks!

Image credit: xJason.Rogersx

About Megan Elizabeth Morris

Megan Elizabeth Morris -- also known as MEM -- is the Managing Editor for Upmarket Magazine. She connects remarkable contributors with great new audiences, and occasionally contributes herself. If you’re a talented content creator looking to build community around an outside-the-box business message, be sure to drop her a note or check out our submission guidelines. You can also find out more about MEM on her personal info page or by following her on Twitter.

  • Eric Barrett

    I love the Kickstarter movement. It’s a great way to bring Indy talent into established fields, while also having some level of “control” over quality. You have to be good / have a great idea to get funding to launch.

    My biggest concern is what happens when projects start to fail? They get funding but never release a CD or never finish a video game? What will that do to the platform? And more importantly, people’s willingness to take a risk on an untried person / product?

    • Megan Elizabeth Morris

      That’s a good question — do we know what does happen when a project fails? What happens if money is collected… but delivery is compromised (or nonexistent)? I’m sure some platforms have a policy on this, right?

      • Eric Barrett

        I’m not sure what their policy is (I suppose I could go look it up, lol). But I have to think if you’ve earned $50,000 for your projected, and spent $45,000+ and can’t release a movie / game / CD - what happens? I can’t see how you’d get your money back. For some projects I’m sure it’s worth the risk, but highly funded, “major studio” projects get cancelled all the time, that’s going to happen in the Indy / Kickstarter scene too.

  • Didier Daglinckx

    Building a tribe BEFORE starting a kickstarter project helps a lot.

    Some projects also need to be sized in such a way that they grow progressively.
    If you ask ie 13.000$ to build a project make sure that you already have a few backers when launching.
    Alternatively, start with some pieces of your project for 2.000$ then come back with another one when successful.