Kickstarter Canada: 6 projects seeing success with help of crowd-funding
Published Saturday, September 14, 2013 1:07PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 21, 2013 11:38PM EDT
Kickstarter, an online crowdfunding platform which has helped jettison the idea that only wealthy or famous people have the means to back creative projects, has launched an official Canadian version of its site.
The north-of-the-border version rolled out earlier this week, and follows the same format and rules as the popular American website, which was created in New York four years ago by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler.
Since then, the scrappy start-up website has since generated more than $784 million for projects, thanks to large and small investments from 4.8 million users. People who back Kickstarter campaigns are often rewarded with insider access to the projects they fund, and sometimes, an actual tangible prize for their generosity.
Kickstarter does not charge anything to create a campaign. But if the project is successful, Kickstarter will collect five per cent of the money raised. In addition, between three and five per cent will be charged to process payments.
The website has so far funded more than 48,000 projects -- lowering the bar to entry for thousands of entrepreneurs seeking to materialize their vision while avoiding the traditional knock-on-the-door-for-handouts tactics. The only caveat is that the project must be a "creative" one.
In celebration of Kickstarter’s Canadian launch, we look at three of the most successful campaigns from the past, and three up-and-comers that have already been pitched by your fellow Canucks:
1. Pebble watch
Designed to connect to smartphones and display information such as caller ID for incoming calls, emails, Facebook and Twitter messages, Vancouver-born Eric Migicovsky and his California-based team used Kickstarter last year to commercially launch their futuristic-looking wristwatch, Pebble.
Considered perhaps one of the most successful Kickstarter crowdfunding projects in terms of how quickly the campaign took off, the Pebble watch drive collected $100,000 – the amount Migicovsky and his team had hoped to raise – in just two hours. The digital donations continued, and in 28 hours, the campaign generated more than 10 times the amount they needed.
After a funding period of 37 days, the Pebble watch drive collected over $10,000,000 thanks to 68,929 backers. Individuals who pledged $99 or more received a Pebble watch for their generosity.
When the Kickstarter campaign for "Veronica Mars: The Movie" was announced, fans rejoiced. The dedicated fan base of the cancelled cult show had been longing to see the series come back on the big screen.
The campaign was launched in March by the mastermind behind the show, Rob Thomas. It met its goal of $2 million in less than 11 hours; and after 30 days, the campaign raised over $5,700,000 – sending powerful waves across the entertainment industry about this new source of independent funding.
3. STILL Motion
Launched by Canadian choreographer Stacey Tookey -- who is best known for her appearances on the Canadian and U.S. version of So You Think You Can Dance -- the STILL Motion campaign was launched to raise money for a multi-disciplinary dance performance entitled “Moments Defined.”
The campaign was able to raise over $38,570 thanks to just 142 backers over a period of two months.
"I am overwhelmed with the outreach of support for Moments Defined," a post on the campaign's website reads.
So far, the Canadian version of Kickstarter has already materialized the dreams of a handful of entrepreneurs. Here are three campaigns already raking in the digital dollars:
Launched earlier this week, the "Little Robot Friends" campaign, started by Toronto tech company Aesthetec Studio, has already surpassed its fundraising goal of $55,000. Money raised from the campaign will go toward creating a collection of "cute and smart autonomous objects" that can sense how much light is in a room, “hear” using a tiny microphone,” and detect a person’s touch.
The little robots -- made using a combination of light-emitting diodes and wood -- also come with six customizable "personality" traits which affects how the battery-powered mini android responds to different stimuli. For example, robots can be programmed to be afraid of the dark, or become braver by "stroking" its touch-sensitive "hair."
Started by YG, a regular public transit user in Toronto, the Token Card project aims to raise money to mass produce a credit-card sized vessel that will hold eight Toronto Transit Commission tokens.
The campaign is just shy of meeting its goal of $2,000, but as of Saturday morning, the Token Card project still has over a month until the end of the campaign. (It has raised $1,973, thanks to 341 investors.)
The $2,000 will be used to cover the initial production run, which includes machinery and labour costs. A mold will be used to mass produce the Token Card, which will be made of a high grade aluminum.
Launched by Jacqueline Ashby, the project aims to encourage people to read in her neighbourhood in Abbotsford, B.C., with a grassroots initiative. Similar to a traditional library, the “Little Free Library” program allows people to borrow books: But unlike a brick and motor library, users will not be bound by due dates or fines. Books are "shelved" in a birdhouse-like structure and are donated by other readers.
Ashby’s campaign still has 25 days to go but it has already surpassed its fundraising goal of $597, meaning a “library” will be built in her neighbourhood.