This past week, we had the very good fortune of being invited to New York by the Kickstarter Crew. We were asked to be a part of a Kickstarter/Crowdfunding panel at Comic Con New York. Naturally, we jumped at the chance!
We were on a panel with Yancy Strickler and Cindy Au of Kickstarter, fellow KS’ers Jamie Tanner (The Black Well) and Courtney Zell and Justin Rivers (The Wonder City) - all very cool people :) The panel was scheduled to last only an hour, but the Q & A kept going well beyond that.
There was lots of good info for people considering doing a KS project. The general conclusion of the discussion was that, for the most part, you get out of KickStarter what you put into it. As Yancy put it, getting your project on KS is not equivalent to finding ‘some magical box of money in the woods’. Though the community aspect to KS is strong, for the most part, people are not simply browsing KS looking for something to give their money to. We often tell people to treat the site as a tool for engaging and enabling your audience. But it’s an audience that you must go out and get and bring to the site. KickStarter won’t do it for you (that’s not their role, its yours).
We thought it might be useful to do a quick & dirty list of some of the takeaway points (note: I’m going by memory here, so some of these numbers may be slightly off):
- Success Rate: Approximately 40% of KS projects reach their funding goal. A large number of the projects that do not succeed, fail to raise a single dollar.
- Number of Projects: As of this writing, Kickstarter has successfully funded over 3,000 projects (out of approx. 9,000). Raising over $20,000,000 for independent creative projects.
- Gaining Steam: 6 of the top 8 largest Kickstarter fundraising totals have happened in the past couple of weeks (it is projected that this project could be the new number one).
- Tipping Point: 90% of projects that hit 30% of their funding target are eventually successful. 30% seems to be a magic number of sorts.
- Shorter the Better: On KS, your project fundraising period can be set anywhere between 30 and 90 days. According to the numbers, the most successful fundraising duration is 30 days. The least successful: 90 days.
Kickstarter was originally conceived as a way to save Arrested Development. The general idea being that if a website could motivate fans to pre-fund a season’s worth of DVD sales (and/or related assets), the network would sign off on a fourth season or the show could be produced independently.
Kickstarter’s founders had a friend who was cousins with David Cross. They pitched the idea to Cross, and though it (sadly) never happened (for many reasons other than funding), David Cross signed on as an initial KickStarter investor.
So, there you have it, Kickstarter, a site meant to engage fans in the creative process was born out of an attempt to do just that.
We had a great time in New York. We like to send a HUGE thanks to Kickstarter for, number one: existing! And number two: Inviting us out to talk. Thank you to Yancy, Cindy and the very nice Kickstarter gang!