Why you should care
Whether you’re helping a friend make a short film or funding a fashion line for dogs, you should know what works, and what doesn’t, on Kickstarter.
Kickstarter is the largest crowdfunding platform ever, and has made headlines all over the world by helping finance thousands of creative projects, from award-winning movies to Atlanta’s first squirrel census. Many say it represents the future of business. But there is only one way of knowing how successful the site truly is: to look at the numbers.
- $2.7 billion: Total dollars pledged to Kickstarter projects
- 116,899: Successfully funded projects
- 12,164,784: Total backers
- 3,865,891: Repeat backers
- 12,208,148: Total pledges
- 64%: Unsuccessful Kickstarter projects
Overall, the platform shows impressive figures. Seven years after its launch, it has managed to raise $2.7 billion and successfully fund 52,142 projects. 12,164,784 people have backed projects — 3,865,891 of whom, have done it more than once according to the company’s own figures.
Even if the amount raised by the site is unprecedented, its distribution is significantly unbalanced. The most profitable category by far is games, which has raised $577 million, more than twice as much as dance, photography, theater, fashion and comics combined.
Technology is a complex category. Its projects receive the highest average pledge and the most expensive project ever funded on Kickstarter was the Pebble, a watch that connects to smart phones. It received $10,266,845 in backing – 10,266% more than what its creators initially hoped for. However, technology also has one of the highest unsuccessful rates on Kickstarter.
On the other hand, despite being the category that gets the smallest average pledges, dance is relatively successful. In 2012, 74% of the projects in this group got full funding, followed closely by theater (65%) and music (55%). But Kickstarter doesn’t seem to work as well for fashion or publishing, with a 26% and 28% success rate respectively.
In all, only 35% of last year’s projects managed to raise the money they requested, which means that the majority of ideas showcased on the site never made it out of the gate.
This leads to the question of whether this funding frenzy is here to stay, or if it’s just another fashionable tech bubble? Yancey Strickler, one of the three founders of Kickstarter, thinks this Kickstarter has a bright future. “We always believed very strongly in this, but it is amazing to see how far it has gone and we do feel that this is just the beginning – this is just scratching the surface.”
Kickstarter has been a ground-breaking idea and a big success in some areas. But the crowd-funding model doesn’t work for everything. If you are a fashionista, tech entrepreneur or a publisher, you might try your luck strapping on some dance shoes instead.