Kickstarter is an American public-benefit corporation based in
Brooklyn, New York, that maintains a global crowdfunding platform
focused on creativity. The company's stated mission is to "help
bring creative projects to life".
Kickstarter has reportedly
received more than $1.9 billion in pledges from 9.4 million backers to
fund 257,000 creative projects, such as films, music, stage shows,
comics, journalism, video games, technology and food-related
People who back
Kickstarter projects are offered tangible rewards or
experiences in exchange for their pledges. This model traces its
roots to subscription model of arts patronage, where artists would go
directly to their audiences to fund their work.
3 Notable projects and creators
3.1 Top projects by funds raised
3.2 Project cancellations
5 Patent disputes
6 See also
8 External links
Kickstarter HQ library, Brooklyn
Kickstarter launched on April 28, 2009, by Perry Chen, Yancey
Strickler, and Charles Adler.
The New York Times
The New York Times called Kickstarter
"the people's NEA". Time named it one of the "Best Inventions of
2010" and "Best Websites of 2011".
raised $10 million funding from backers including NYC-based venture
firm Union Square Ventures and angel investors such as Jack Dorsey,
Zach Klein and Caterina Fake. The company is based in Greenpoint,
Andy Baio served as the site's CTO until November 2010, when he joined
Expert Labs. Lance Ivy has been Lead Developer since the website
launched. On February 14, 2013,
Kickstarter released an iOS app
Kickstarter for the iPhone. The app is aimed at users who
create and back projects and is the first time
Kickstarter has had an
official mobile presence.
On October 31, 2012,
Kickstarter opened projects based in the United
Kingdom, followed by projects based in
Canada on September 9,
2013, Australia and New Zealand on November 13, 2013, the
Netherlands on April 28, 2014, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, and
September 15, 2014, Germany on April 28, 2015, France and
May 19, 2015, Austria, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland
on June 16, 2015,
Hong Kong on August 30, 2016,
Mexico on November 15, 2016 and Japan on September 12, 2017. In July
2017, Strickler announced his resignation.
Kickstarter is one of a number of crowdfunding platforms for gathering
money from the public, which circumvents traditional avenues of
investment. Project creators choose a deadline and a minimum
funding goal. If the goal is not met by the deadline, no funds are
collected (a kind of assurance contract). The platform is open to
backers from anywhere in the world and to creators from the US,
UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands,
Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, France, Germany, Austria,
Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Mexico.
Kickstarter applies a 5% fee on the total amount of the funds
raised. Their payments processor applies an additional 3–5%
fee. Unlike many forums for fundraising or investment, Kickstarter
claims no ownership over the projects and the work they produce. The
web pages of projects launched on the site are permanently archived
and accessible to the public. After funding is completed, projects and
uploaded media cannot be edited or removed from the site.
There is no guarantee that people who post projects on Kickstarter
will deliver on their projects, use the money to implement their
projects, or that the completed projects will meet backers'
Kickstarter advises backers to use their own judgment on
supporting a project. They also warn project leaders that they could
be liable for legal damages from backers for failure to deliver on
promises. Projects might also fail even after a successful
fundraising campaign when creators underestimate the total costs
required or technical difficulties to be overcome.
Asked what made
Kickstarter different from other crowdfunding
Perry Chen said: "I wonder if people really know
what the definition of crowdfunding is. Or, if there’s even an
agreed upon definition of what it is. We haven’t actively supported
the use of the term because it can provoke more confusion. In our
case, we focus on a middle ground between patronage and commerce.
People are offering cool stuff and experiences in exchange for the
support of their ideas. People are creating these mini-economies
around their project ideas. So, you aren’t coming to the site to get
something for nothing; you are trying to create value for the people
who support you. We focus on creative projects—music, film,
technology, art, design, food and publishing—and within the category
of crowdfunding of the arts, we are probably ten times the size of all
of the others combined."
On June 21, 2012,
Kickstarter began publishing statistics on its
projects. As of February 13, 2015, there were 207,135 launched
projects (7,802 in progress), with a success rate of
40%.[clarification needed] The total amount pledged was
The business grew quickly in its early years. In 2010
3,910 successful projects and $27,638,318 pledged. The corresponding
figures for 2011 were 11,836 successfully funded projects and
$99,344,381 pledged; and there were 18,109 successfully funded
projects, $319,786,629 pledged in 2012.
On February 9, 2012,
Kickstarter hit a number of milestones. A dock
made for the iPhone designed by Casey Hopkins became the first
Kickstarter project to exceed one million dollars in pledges. A few
hours later, a new adventure game project started by computer game
developers, Double Fine Productions, reached the same figure, having
been launched less than 24 hours earlier, and finished with over $3
million pledged. This was also the first time
over a million dollars in pledges in a single day. On August 30,
2014, the "Coolest Cooler", an icebox created by Ryan Grepper, became
the most funded
Kickstarter project in history, with US$13.28 million
in funding, breaking the record previously held by the Pebble smart
In July 2012, Wharton professor Ethan Mollick and Jeanne Pi conducted
research into what contributes to a project’s success or failure on
Kickstarter. Some key findings from the analysis were that increasing
goal size is negatively associated with success, projects that are
featured on the
Kickstarter homepage have an 89% chance of being
successful, compared to 30% without, and that for an average $10,000
project, a 30-day project has a 35% chance of success, while a 60-day
project has a 29% chance of success, all other things being
The ten largest
Kickstarter projects by funds raised are listed below.
Among successful projects, most raise between $1,000 and $9,999. These
dollar amounts drop to less than half in the Design, Games, and
Technology categories. However, the median amount raised for the
latter two categories remains in the four-figure range. There is
substantial variation in the success rate of projects falling under
different categories. Over two thirds of completed dance projects have
been successful. In contrast, fewer than 30% of completed fashion
projects have reached their goal. Most failing projects fail to
achieve 20% of their goals and this trend applies across all
categories. Indeed, over 80% of projects that pass the 20% mark reach
Creators categorize their projects into one of 13 categories and 36
subcategories. They are: Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film
and Video, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology and
Theater. Of these categories, Film & Video and Music are the
largest categories and have raised the most amount of money. These
categories, along with Games, account for over half the money
raised. Video games and tabletop games alone account for more than
$2 out of every $10 spent on Kickstarter.
To maintain its focus as a funding platform for creative projects,
Kickstarter has outlined three guidelines for all project creators to
follow: creators can fund projects only; projects must fit within one
of the site's 13 creative categories; and creators must abide by the
site's prohibited uses, which include charity and awareness campaigns.
Kickstarter has additional requirements for hardware and product
design projects. These include
Banning the use of photorealistic renderings and simulations
demonstrating a product
Banning projects for genetically modified organisms.
Limiting awards to single items or a "sensible set" of items relevant
to the project (e.g., multiple light bulbs for a house)
Requiring a physical prototype
Requiring a manufacturing plan
The guidelines are designed to reinforce Kickstarter’s position that
people are backing projects, not placing orders for a product. To
underscore the notion that
Kickstarter is a place in which creators
and audiences make things together, creators across all categories are
asked to describe the risks and challenges a project faces in
producing it. This educates the public about the project goals and
encourages contributions to the community.
Notable projects and creators
At $8.5 million, the
Ouya is the 8th largest successful Kickstarter
Several creative works have gone on to receive critical acclaim and
accolades after being funded on Kickstarter. Others, such as the Ouya
console, have resulted in commercial failure. The documentary
short "Sun Come Up" and documentary short "Incident in New Baghdad"
were each nominated for an Academy Award; contemporary art
projects "EyeWriter" and "Hip-Hop Word Count" were both chosen to
exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art in 2011; filmmaker Matt
Porterfield was selected to screen his film
Putty Hill at the Whitney
Biennial In 2012; author Rob Walker's Hypothetical Futures project
exhibited at the 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale;
musician Amanda Palmer's album "Theatre is Evil" debuted at No. 10 on
the Billboard 200; designer Scott Wilson won a National Design
Award from Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
following the success of his TikTok + LunaTik project; the
Kickstarter funded GoldieBlox toy gained nationwide distribution in
2013; and approximately 10% of the films accepted into the
Sundance, SXSW and Tribeca Film Festivals are projects funded on
Numerous well-known creators have used
Kickstarter to produce their
work, including: musicians Jennifer Paige, Paula Cole,
TLC, Amanda McBroom, De La Soul, Amanda Palmer, Daniel
Johnston, Stuart Murdoch and Tom Rush; filmmakers and
actors Kevin Sorbo, Alyson Hannigan, Zach Braff, Bret
Easton Ellis, Colin Hanks, Ed Begley, Jr., Gary
Hustwit, Hal Hartley, Jennie Livingston, Mark Duplass,
Matthew Modine, Paul Schrader, Ricki Lake, Whoopi
Goldberg, Kristen Bell,
John de Lancie
John de Lancie and Zana Briski; authors
and writers Dan Harmon, Kevin Kelly, Neal Stephenson,
Steve Altes, and Seth Godin; photographers Spencer Tunick,
Shane Lavalette, and Gerd Ludwig; game developers Tim
Schafer, Keiji Inafune, Brian Fargo, and Rand Miller;
designer Stefan Sagmeister; animator John Kricfalusi; comedian
Eugene Mirman; animators
Don Bluth and Gary Goldman;
entrepreneurs Tim Ferriss, Samuel Agboola and Craig Mod;
and custom guitar maker Moniker.
Glowing Plant project was the first and only
to fund the development of a genetically modified organism (GMO).
Top projects by funds raised
See also: List of highest funded crowdfunding projects
Ten largest successfully completed
Kickstarter projects by total funds
pledged (only closed fundings are listed)
Pebble Time – Awesome Smartwatch, No Compromises
Coolest Cooler: 21st Century Cooler that's Actually Cooler
Pebble 2, Time 2 + All-New Pebble Core
Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5
Kingdom Death/Adam Poots
Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android
The World's Best Travel Jacket with 15 Features BAUBAX
OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console
THE 7th CONTINENT – What Goes Up, Must Come Down
The Everyday Backpack, Tote, and Sling
Kickstarter and project creators have canceled projects that
appeared to have been fraudulent. Questions were raised about the
projects in internet communities related to the fields of the
projects. The concerns raised were: apparent copying of graphics from
other sources; unrealistic performance or price claims; and failure of
project sponsors to deliver on prior
A small list of canceled projects includes:
Eye3 camera drone helicopter for unrealistic performance promises,
photos copied from other commercial products, and failure of creators
to deliver on an earlier
Mythic: The Story of Gods and Men adventure game for copying graphics
from other games and unrealistic performance promises; the creator had
raised $4,739 on an $80,000 goal before canceling the project.
Tech-Sync Power System for failing to provide photos of the prototype
and sudden departure of project creator.
Tentacle Bento, a card game intended to satirize Japanese school girl
tentacle rape comics, after being criticized in the online media for
having inappropriate content.
Kobe Red, a project for jerky made from Kobe beef, was canceled after
raising $120,309. The project was allegedly fraudulent.
iFind claimed to be a battery-free item locating tag. Critics of the
project raised serious doubts about its viability, focussing on its
claimed EM harvesting capability and the lack of a working prototype.
Kickstarter suspended funding after $546,852 had been raised.
In the Huffington Post article "Why
Kickstarter is Corrupted"
Nathan Resnick blames the rise of paid advertising,
investor-backed campaigns, and crowdfunding agencies for the decline
Kickstarter as a useful tool for small inventors and creators.
Resnick cites Nebia, backed by
Tim Cook and Eric Schmidt, as an
example of a well funded, investor-backed project using Kickstarter
purely for publicity, thus drawing donations from smaller teams.
He goes on to note the highest profile crowdfunding marketing agency,
"Funded Today", charges a 35% commission on all monies raised,
regardless of their contribution, while reserving the right to abandon
projects they've pledged to support and claims such huge fees can make
it impossible for successful projects to survive even if they hit
their targets. Funded Today can collect as much as 50% of the total
amount a campaign raised as fees, when the four-figure up-front
charges they levy are accounted for.
In addition, many individual projects caused controversy.
In May 2014,
Kickstarter blocked fundraising for a TV film about
late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Producer Phelim McAleer claimed
Kickstarter censored the project because of its graphic content and
espousing a "liberal agenda". In June 2014 the project received
approval for fundraising from rival site Indiegogo, raising more than
On November 6, 2013, writer/director
Hal Hartley launched a
Kickstarter campaign to produce his upcoming film Ned Rifle, seeking a
total of $384,000. On November 25, Hartley added a $9,000 reward
tier offering the film's distribution rights for seven years in the
United States and other countries, making his
Kickstarter campaign the
first to propose offering film distribution rights. Subsequently,
Kickstarter notified Hartley selling distribution rights is a form of
investment, which is forbidden by Kickstarter's terms and conditions,
forcing Hartley to remove the option.
In June 2013, there was controversy over the book Above the Game, a
guidebook on seducing women. Outlets pointed how the advice in the
book seemed to encourage sexual assault. Although
Kickstarter received a significant alert, they failed to pull the
project. The site eventually wrote a letter of apology and placed a
blanket ban on "Seduction guides" 
In April 2013, filmmaker
Zach Braff used
Kickstarter to fund his film
Wish I Was Here
Wish I Was Here and raised $2 million in three days, citing the
success of Rob Thomas' Veronica Mars
Kickstarter as his inspiration.
Braff received criticism for using the site, saying his celebrity
status would draw attention from other creatives who lack celebrity
recognition, the same kind of criticism regarding big figures in
the gaming industry using Kickstarter. (One example is Richard
Garriott, who created a successful $1+ million
Kickstarter despite his
Kickstarter disputed these arguments by
claiming, according to their metrics, big name projects attract new
visitors, who in turn pledge to lesser known projects.
Since 2013, several crowdfunding campaigns have been accused of
creating fake contributors to fool the public into thinking the
campaigns were successful, and to defraud potential sources of
Amanda Palmer raised $1.2 million on Kickstarter. She wrote
about how she used the money, however several other musicians reviewed
these expenses and said they were extravagant and possibly fraudulent.
She was further criticized for attempting to have musicians play with
her for free on tour, after raising such a large sum.
In May 2011, a
New York University
New York University film student, Matias Shimada,
raised $1,726 to make a film, but plagiarized another film. He later
apologized to the public.
On September 30, 2011,
Kickstarter filed a declaratory judgment suit
ArtistShare in an attempt to invalidate U.S.
crowd-funding patent US 7885887 , "Methods and apparatuses
for financing and marketing a creative work".
Kickstarter asked that
the patent be invalidated, or, at the very least, that the court find
Kickstarter is not liable for infringement. In February
ArtistShare and Fan Funded responded to Kickstarter's complaint
by filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. They asserted that patent
infringement litigation was never threatened, that "
Kickstarter about licensing their platform, including
patent rights", and that "rather than responding to ArtistShare's
request for a counter-proposal,
Kickstarter filed this lawsuit."
The judge ruled that the case could go forward.
responded by filing a counterclaim alleging that
indeed infringing its patent. In June 2015,
Kickstarter won its
lawsuit with the judge declaring ArtistShare's patent invalid.
On November 21, 2012,
3D Systems filed a patent infringement lawsuit
Kickstarter for infringing its 3D printer patent
US 5,597,520 , ”Simultaneous multiple-layer curing in
Formlabs had raised $2.9 million in a
Kickstarter campaign to fund its own competitive printer. The
company said that
Kickstarter caused "irreparable injury and damage"
to its business by promoting the Form 1 printer, and taking a 5% cut
of pledged funds. A six-month stay was granted by the judge for
settlement talks in which
Kickstarter did not participate.
On January 23, 2015, Alphacap Ventures LLC filed a patent infringement
lawsuit against multiple crowdfunding platforms, including Indiegogo,
CircleUp, GoFundMe, Kickstarter, Gust,
RocketHub & Innovational
Funding, for three patents — US 7848976 , US 7908208
and US 8433630 . According to Bloomberg, Alphacap Ventures
provides strategic, operations, and financial advisory services in the
United States along with other financial services
Comparison of crowd funding services
List of video game crowdfunding projects
Tech companies in the New York City metropolitan region
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