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Give Your Creative Project A Kick Start With Crowdfunding
If you have a brilliant idea and it's too risky for banks and too small for venture capitalists, crowdfunding may be your best option.
Kickstarter.com has kicked off a movement and now crowdfunding start-ups are popping up everywhere. They offer to help you fund everything from films, games, and music to fashion, food and photography. Supporters say they’re proof that with a little faith and a little money creative projects can be brought to life.
Kickstarter.com and sites like it are essentially friends and family funding on steroids.
Here's how it works, post a project with a funding goal. Then make you best pitch for pledges with the promise of thank you gifts for those who make donations. Hit your funding target and then everyone's credit cards are charged. The crowd decides the worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it.
Chris Roberts is a video game designer who's asking fans to fund the ambitious space simulation game, Star Citizen. He is promising a game that will breathe new life into PC gaming and a crowd of more than 34,000 supporters is helping him make it. From $5 to $5,000 people who want to eventually play the game are making down payments.
"I think it's not just my dream. I think it's their dream too," said Roberts, a pioneer in the gaming industry.
The funding for Wing Commander 2 which came out in 1991 and Privateer in 1993 came from traditional publishers. But now, 20 years later there's a different funding plan.
"I was thinking of going directly to the game playing audience," said Roberts.
His sales pitch on kickstarter.com netted over $2 million dollars. Cloud Imperium, Robert's new game company, raised another $4 million on Star Citizen's official website. The current combined total is $6,891,000. It's a new record for a crowd funded game.
"It allows me to not have to listen or not have to be in partnership with a big publisher that has his own agenda," said Roberts.
Kickstarter.com doesn't give all projects that kind of kick start. More than 78,000 projects have been pitched on the website and 44 percent reached their funding goals
Jeremy Martinez launched his project Dec 1. He has 30 days to fund his dream.
"I'm asking for $6,000," said Martinez.
That's typical of most Kickstarter projects which are looking for less than $10,000. The Austin artist needs the money to publish 100 copies of his graphic novel, Monsters in Ties. To help get the word out Martinez plans to be at Austin Books & Comics on Saturday, Dec. 15 drawing monsters and caricatures. All proceeds will go to his Kickstarter project.
"It helps to give the little man the extra push that they need," said Martinez.
Unlike investors, backers will never see any profits from their pledges. What you get is some type of thank you gift, like a signed copy of the book you helped fund. Or, in the case of Star Citizen, a chance to be part of the pre-launch testing and feedback loop. But, all that support from family, friends and fans comes with its own pressure.
"We'd better not let them down, so let's make this the best game possible," said Roberts.
Since Kickstarter launched, two and a half million people have backed more than 33,000 projects. The total investment now stands at $364 million dollars.
But, backer beware. Kickstarter, and others like it, don't investigate a creator's ability to complete their project. And, while many fulfill their promises some have run into missteps and lengthy delays.
By Bettie Cross