Well, strange as it may seem, I wasn't far off. Because today I ran across a company called Kickstarter, whose basic premise stems from just that thought process. It's a fundraising website co-founded by Yancey Strickler and Perry Chen. The thing that sets this company apart from other crowd-sourcing ideas is the fact that it's an all-or-nothing situation. Here's how it works: You set a fundraising goal and a timeline that can stretch up to 90 days. Pledges are tiered, with each tier offering different incentives. If your project doesn’t reach your pre-set monetary goal in the time limit, nobody pays. If you reach your goal before the time limit, you continue to raise money until the time limit is up. The implications of this are that b ackers simply can't lose — if you can’t complete the project, they don’t pay. And if you can, they get both their tier award and the satisfaction of knowing they were instrumental in helping a dream come true. Kickstarter and Amazon have teamed to make payments seamless and safe. Amazon acts like an escrow service — if pledge goals are met, the pledges are automatically charged the moment the funding time limit is reached.
You can read more on this marvelous company in Wired, NPR and The New York Times.
One of Kickstarter’s earliest success stories was Polyvinyl Record, an indie record label that has released albums by of Montreal and Asobi Seksu.
I, myself, will be wasting no time in getting started!
Logo courtesy Kickstarter
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