Kickstarter's CEO Perry Chen and How Ideas Can Be Funded

In an era of global austerity there are still ways to fund your creative ideas. When it comes to funding, the paradigms are shifting. I've mentioned Kickstarter before, the site that uses the crowd funding model and draws on your fans to fund your visions and work. Perry Chan the founder of Kickstarter recently gave a talk at DoLectures about the ethos and some of the projects behind Kickstarter. As usual my notes are below.


At a basic level, Kickstarter's model is not new. 100 years ago it was common place for creatives to have the concept of subscribers. Much like magazine subscribers today, a creative's fans would be subscribers, making a commitment up front that funded the ongoing body of work. In exchange for that commitment, subscribers would get first, or often exclusive, access to the work being funded. Kickstarter reignites that philosophy and fund raising model.

Th most common amount donated on Kickstarter is surprisingly small. $25 is the most common donation, but it only takes small amounts like these to allow us to do disruptive work and enable more people to have the opportunity to create. Generally because of the economics of investment, needing to satisfy the investors expected financial returns, investment has only been available to larger, risk free projects. Kickstarter changes this by bringing together many small investments. When the investment is small we can be more personal. We are happier to take the risk based on whether we like the person, whether we like what they say or what they are creating.

A unique effect of this is this is that Kickstarter allows projects with no ambition to generate a profit, find funding. In theory, this leads to more innovative work and the fruition of ideas that may never have traditionally seen the light of day. As long as the project has a following that is happy to fund the idea, it can have legs.

Multiplied together, many of these small investments can have huge value and finance fairly large projects. Over last 3 years:

  • 1 million people $95m pledged on kickstarter
  • $35m film and video
  • $20m music
  • 8 design
  • 6 art
  • 5 publishing
  • 3 food, tech and photography
  • 1 games. theatre, fashion, comics and dance

In addition to the financial gains of using Kickstarter, a byproduct of the crowd funding approach is that many of these projects have gained new followers.

Kickstarter is by no means a garanteed funding route. You need to have an established following that is will ing to support and promote your ideas, for your Kickstarter project to gain traction. In this day and age when traditional funding streams are disappearing, sites like Kickstarter are an exciting and obvious alternative path to realise your ideas.

You can find out more about Kickstarter here.