Anyone who has ever considered launching a new business or product understands the many obstacles and challenges they face when getting started. And while there are many limiting factors, lack of money and demand are the more common reasons these efforts fail.
So how do entrepreneurs get out of the gates? In the past, that involved creating a company and offering its idea to the public, then waiting for the result. I am simplifying this of course, but trying to establish proof of concept while managing a shoestring budget was usually an arduous process that was make-or-break for entrepreneur.
Then came crowdfunding, or the ability to offer your idea to the masses and garner interest and raise money before setting out on a full scale development strategy. Again, I am simplifying something that is much more complicated, but at its core, crowdfunding revolutionized how entrepreneurs raise visibility and gauge demand for a new idea without the costs historically associated with doing so.
Leading that revolution was Kickstarter, one of the first crowdfunding sites founded by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler in Brooklyn, NY. The company turns 10 this year, which is wildly young considering the impact they have had.
Consider that since opening in 2009, Kickstarter has supported 160,000 projects across 22 countries, by attracting 16 million backers with $4 billion in funding. That is a lot of new products and companies that may not have existed had this ability not been available.
Kickstarter CEO, Aziz Hasan, acknowledges that we are still in the infancy of crowdfunding, and we should see much more impact in the coming years as sites like Kickstarter become more recognized and adopted. "We've accomplished a lot since 2009," Hasan said in a blog post, "but we also recognize that we still have a lot to do -- creative work needs more support. At Kickstarter, that means we have a responsibility to evolve our service, strengthen our dedication, and increase our impact."
I have enjoyed Kickstarter over the past 10 years, from amazing projects I have supported to leveraging the value of the site to fund my own book. So happy birthday, Kickstarter, and may your next 10 years be as impactful as the first.