Kickstarter Launches!

I’m very happy to announce that Kickstarter is live! I first mentioned the project back in September, and have been privileged to sit on the board and advise their development for the last ten months.

Kickstarter aims to let creative people of all kinds — journalists, artists, musicians, game developers, entrepreneurs, bloggers — raise money for their projects by connecting directly with fans, who receive exclusive access and rewards in exchange for their patronage. Like Josh Freese and Jill Sobule, the site allows creators to have multiple tiers of rewards (e.g. $20 for the book, $50 for signed copy) with optional limits for each.

The model is simple: a project creator sets a fundraising goal, deadline, and an optional set of rewards for backers. If the goal’s reached by the deadline, then everyone’s charged via Amazon Payments and the backers get their goodies. If the goal’s not reached, nobody’s charged. It’s all or nothing.

If you want to raise money to build an iPhone app, make a run of t-shirts, or print a book, you can do it with absolutely no risk or up-front costs. If there’s enough demand for your idea, you’ll be able to sell every copy before you’ve spent a dime.

Kickstarter also offers publishing tools, where creators can post project updates with audio and video, either publicly or for backers only. For projects without a physical reward, exclusive updates could be a great incentive for people to get involved. Check out this project for a good example.

Anyway, I’m thrilled to see what people come up with! For now, anyone can back projects, but you’ll need a Kickstarter invite to be able to create your own project. (You can get an invite from an existing member, or sign up to get notified when Kickstarter opens to the public.)

99 thoughts on “Kickstarter Launches!

  1. Howdy,

    This looks like a great idea! I’m actually working on a documentary photography project about native american youth all over the country; their participation in old tribal ways as well as their adolescent struggle for independence in a modern context. Right now my plan is to live on/near reservations and wait tables to cover my costs, but it would be great to devote myself to the project completely.

    I’d love it if you could send me an invite so that I could start my own project page. Thanks!

    Serge Giachetti

  2. Hey there!

    Just signed up and would LOVE an invite. I have some very cool projects that could benefit from this model…specifically one for an ARG that uses cultural exchanges to further the narrative and plot through advances in new media and generative art.

    I would be extremely excited to get an invite! Hope to hear from you…

    thanky!,

    :dré

  3. Cool! Especially for a post-buyout journalist seeking funding to pursue story ideas… I’d love an invite.

    Thanks!

    –Stephen

  4. I have a web project that needs funding. The goal of the project is to get stressed people to act without a requirement to read long books (which just increases the problem)

    I’d love an invite to Kickstarter

    Thanks!

    Ole

  5. Wow, sounds great! I have a few ideas for iPhone Apps, that I can’t pursue, because of funding. Kickstarter seems to be the right way to do it.

    Sign me up!

    David

  6. Hi,

    This sounds great! I’m a graphic designer and i have a couple of publishing projects that i always wanted to start but raising money was an issue.

    Is it possible to get an invite?

    Thanks a lot,

    Y

  7. I’m a laid off Chicago Sun-Times Editor who would really love an INVITE. I am working with several news-spheres in the news blog ecosystem here to launch what we are calling the News Rooms of the Future using an L3C, low-profit limited liability company, social enterprise model. I am looking for resources for related travel and research.

  8. If there are anymore invites out there I’d love to try it out… I have some projects that I’ve been putting together but not the start-up

  9. Thanks for the invitation. I just wrote about it on my site.

    I’m sure you’re up to your eyeballs, and I imagine that this is in the plans, but I’d recommend you make a great 2-3 minute video explaining what Kickstarter is about. Ideally, it would feature creators already involved in the project.

  10. Warning: Too many exclamation points follow.

    OH man! I am so excited about this idea. It is genius.

    I have an idea about a half real half digital scavenger hunt that would be cool to set up and cooler if other people where excited enough to pay to play (and get stuff for the hunt)

    Or or or! a t-shirt or two I have been thinking about (how original, I know…)

    Or or or! something else! I don’t know yet, but I would love an invite.

  11. Idea! So I was thinking about trying to get my favorite band Matt & Kim to do a house show. But I want to be able to pay them a fair price, so invites would be pre paid for and if enough people are interested it happens!

    oh man…

    This is going to change everything.

  12. Great idea. Right after launch, someone said it could be used to throw some insanely huge parties, but yours would be the first. Find out how much they’d charge and create a new project!

  13. I’m currently in the (long, drawn out) process of forming an NPO and need funding for promotion of a large event. This looks promising and I’d like to try it out. Thanks!

  14. That’s such a fantastic idea. Could I possibly trouble you for an invite? I’ve got an idea for a documentary photography project. I’d love it to be funded by regular people interested in the relevant issue, as most charities that deal in the area seem to be barely funded, and I’ve had little luck with sponsors so far. Thanks Andy!

  15. I would like to use this to fund a house-sized papier-mâché project, if you still have invites available. Thanks!

  16. Hey Andy,

    I’ve been eagerly awaiting to see what this would be since your first post about it – Would really love an invite…

    Cheers, Nick

  17. I love this idea Andy!

    I have a specific project involving an iPhone app and communication at events. And taking it further, I work with a few non-profit event promoters here in LA who could really benefit from something like this.

    Invite me please!

  18. This is a fantastic idea and I’m happy it’s reached fruition. I would love an invite to help me start producing letterpress-printed design-flavoured posters.

  19. Andy, this is an awesome idea! I’m constantly trying to spread the word of what a creative person you are, and seeing this made me feel proud that I do. I have so many ideas spinning around in my head right now for this, it’s incredible. I’ll have to IM you when I get some more clarity for the ideas I have.

  20. It doesn’t dilute the awesomeness of this idea/service, but a word of warning to fellow non-US creative people: you can’t use this service right now. Amazon Payments is US-only.

  21. This sounds like a great project and a great opportunity on both sides of project funding. I would love to have an invite to post projects if there are still some available.

  22. I’ll take one please. I want to buy an entry level laser engraver and start a little business. Free engravings to whomever helps fund it!

  23. Forgot to include project idea! I have a blog called Drive A Faster Car that I’m trying to launch into a fuller city-wide alternative media source and need to redesign + hire writers!

  24. Beautiful idea; love this brilliant concept, Andy! Would love to have an invite to experiment with a few entrepreneurial and creative endeavors (involving herbs, natural cosmetics and art…). Thank you for spreading this word!

  25. Hi there Andy,

    This is an absolutely AMAZING idea. I’m one of the co-founders of a non-profit org called Solutions Twin Cities (www.solutionstwincities.org). We organize events, exhibits, and other programs that highlight worldchangers in our community. We’ve had some amazing success in the past but have never been able to do much with straight up fund-raising. I think Kickstarter might just be part of the answer to our woes.

    We’re about to jump into managing our first permanent space and I could really see this helping with that and all kinds of other creative projects we’ve had in mind (like doing a massive PARK(ing) Day block party in the Twin Cities). I’d love to give it a shot!

    Cheers,

    Colin

  26. Hi Andy, I’d love an invite if they’re still going out. Got a couple fun things that might fit and would love an invite to try one out and share the experience with other folks at http://projectvrm.org. Your initiative seems to share the spirit of VRM.

  27. Love the idea. I’m an indie iphone developer and would love to try this for funding some of my projects. Would greatly appreciate an invite if they’re still available. Thanks!

  28. Kickstarter.com is an excellent idea. If there are still some invites left I would like to have one please. I have some projects that could use this service possibly. thanks –

  29. I would love an invite if you still have one. I have a social media widget idea I would like to see come to life. Thanks either way.

  30. Elizabeth and I have been talking about this kind of model for a One Story-type literary journal. Can you hook your old chauffeur up with an invite? Thanks!

  31. Hey I’m a brazilian universitary filmmaker and currently trying to raise funds for my next short film. I just heard about kickstarsters and I believe it could be a huge help making it possible for me and my team to produce this film.

    So I’d really appreciate if you could send me an invite. Thanks!

  32. I am working on a project that is a combination Iphone/Itouch app with Bluetooth hardware (Iphone OS 3.0) that can be used to track your small children. I was hoping you still had invites.

    Thank you,

    Curtis Mechling

  33. do you still have invites? i’m about to get laid off, and have a few projects in mind i’d love to develop…online chronicles of different topics that might require minor funds! sharing of my weird esoteric knowledge, that kind of thing.

  34. Hey! I would love an invitation. I have a novella that I want to self publish :). If you still have any, that would so so awesome! Thank you 🙂

  35. Not sure if you are still giving out invites but I am looking to fund a project in Denver photographing the local homeless population and creating a book with their photo and a blurb about their life and history. Unfortunately homeless people require money to do these sorts of things. Thanks!

  36. Andy, mind commenting on how this doesn’t violate the list of prohibited uses for Amazon Payments?

    Prohibited Items and Activities:

    Donations and Charitable Solicitations – includes charities and non-profit organizations without a valid 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, charitable solicitations, commercial fundraisers (including commercial co-venturers), or any activity associated with the solicitation of donations.

    In the past I’ve queried Amazon regarding specifically the kind of use case you have going here, and they replied that such an approach to funding would violate the terms and put the site operator’s account at risk of termination if any of the projects being funded did not have 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

    They mentioned that the best approach to stay in good standing was to sell merchandise to raise the funds. Your incentives approach comes close to that, but since one can also donate less than the amount needed to qualify for receiving something then this seems kind of risky.

    The only workaround I can see is to make sure every project owner provides something tangible in return for each and every donation. Eg., access to behind-the-scenes video as Electronola offers at the $1 pledge level. Some projects on there don’t offer anything but satisfaction to someone pledging $1, while that may be enough for the one making the pledge, I doubt it’ll be enough for Amazon.

    If you did run this by them and get a thumbs-up, how’d you swing it, and what stipulations, if any, did they impose?

  37. Michael: I’ll pass you on to the Kickstarter team for a response, since I don’t know the specifics. I do know that they’ve worked directly with the Amazon FPS team during development, so I’m sure they reached an agreement.

  38. I have a photo portfolio that i would like to present! 🙂 please consider me for an invite

  39. Andy,

    This is an amazing idea. Just happened to find you through a link from Rob Walker’s murketing.com site and I’ve already had the pleasure of backing one project (Unbunny).

    I’d love an invite for a project we have that’s aimed at reducing the number of animals that are abandoned each year and wind up in shelters or with rescue organizations and are eventaully euthanized.

  40. WOW! Found this on Twitter. Awesome. I would love an INVITE!

    Detroit blogger with too many ideas, not enough capital. I document Detroit electronic music and art and develop sites for artists in need. I have film footage waiting for this. Thank you!

  41. I’d love an invite as well. I have a rather unique idea for a book I would love to post.

  42. This is exactly what I have been waiting for. This can become huge! How do I get an invite? The project will be about social media and tech devices in less developed areas. (email me for more details 😉

  43. I am an overstimulated, tech-savvy stay-at-home Dad who has recently become aware of Kickstarter via the TWIT family podcast “Net at Night” (BTW – Great job, Andy). I have some very worthwhile creative projects that would benefit from this fundraising model and if you have any invites left, I would appreciate the opportunity to pursue one of the original ideas at the top of my list. If you have any questions, please contact me and I’d be happy to provide you with more information.

    Thanks for this opportunity!

  44. My partner and I want to launch our app called http://theboxcat.com and build an iphone app for it, and I think kickstarter would be AMAZING for it! Are you still giving out invites?

    (boxcat is going to be a place for people to post their random ideas of things to do or things to think about. It came about because I like to come up with unique activities to do, such as photo scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, random parties, adventures etc, but there’s never been a really fun, collective place with all that stuff in it!)

  45. I’ve been a musician for the better part of the last twenty years (mostly piano). People are always asking me if I have a CD out and I keep saying, “When I have the time and the money, I’ll get one out and let you know.” I haven’t made the time to work on an album because I’ve never had the funds to do so. I’m hoping that if you are still giving out invites that I can get one. I’ve often thought about how great it would be if there were a source where people could go to get their projects started. I firmly believe that you will find great success with the kickstarter.com endeavor.

  46. hey mate,

    just wanting to know if we had enough sizzle to get an invite for our band to finance a demo…we’d only be asking for about $250 usd.

    our band is a little more democratic than most….we’ll be donating a fair chunk of our proceeds to beyond blue here in australia (which is a charity that does some fine work dealing with the stigma of depression and educating people about the illness)

    cheers

    nick

    c/o milford academy

    melbourne, australia

  47. Hey Andy!

    I’m a college student who co-owns an independent apparel company. After our first run of items, we’ve run out of funding (which started from our own pockets), yet are really excited to strike while the iron is hot. We are a very creative minded group with a passion for sharing our excitement for art, culture, and making memories with friends through our clothing lifestyle. We think Kickstarter would be the perfect way to continue on our dream. Please let me know if you have any more invites, it would be much appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Andrew

  48. Interesting idea…I am thinking of creating a Chinese Kickstarter. *^_^*

    Andy, could you send me an invitation? Thanks!

  49. Hi Andy, could you please send me a Kickstarter invitation? I have a project idea that I think would be a good match for Kickstarter. I would like to create something called the Recession Time Capsule, which will be a collection of thoughts and stories from people around the world about the so-called “Great Recession” of 2007-present. I would invite people to contribute either stories of what life was really like during this time, or thoughts and wishes for the future. The news media can be a bit alarmist about everything, and I’d like to collect the real stories that are out there and preserve them. Unlike a traditional time capsule where you bury it in the ground and never look at it, I’d make everything in the Recession Time Capsule publicly available on a website for the next 100 years. I would like to use Kickstarter to raise money to offset some of the hosting and domain name costs. I think Kickstarter would also be helpful in getting the word out far and wide. Thanks for your consideration, and by the way I just joined Kickstarter and think it is awesome. Best, Pierre

  50. Hey Andy! I know a billion people have asked, but could you send me an invite by any chance?

    I run a small record label and am planning on releasing a compilation CD to benefit a local, non-profit, no-kill animal shelter in my town. I have all of the bands lined up, just currently lack the funding to get the CDs press.

    Please? 🙂

  51. Hi Andy,

    Do you have one more invite in that bag full of invitations people have been grabbing for? I have a great idea for kickstarter–and it pays for itself. It’s an idea for a book that I think a lot of people would be interested in–I just need a little bit of time so I can take leave from work. I’ll send you a copy if/when it gets published 😉 Thanks!

  52. Hi Andy, any chance I could get an invite to kickstarter to fund my project? I manage a musician who is going to release a CD, and half of the funding on kickstarter for the CD’s production will go to charity. Let me know if possible… Thanks! My email is agertone@comcast.net

  53. Is it still possible to get an invite? I have a project that has a built-in enthusiastic audience of supporters and this seems the perfect forum.

    Jackie

  54. I’ve been spending money on my art for years. I’d like to raise a mere $1000 to get a new live mixing rig and start doing live sets.

    An invite would mean a lot to me.

  55. I have an idea for utilizing search so the small business owner (“little guy”) can compete with the large firms without having to spend exorbitant amounts of money. I know this is way late in the game being that it’s August already, but I thought I would at least ask and see if there are any more invites left.

    Thanks,

    Kris

  56. Hi Andy,

    I found this post through a Google search about Kickstarter invitations.

    We’re an independent film company located in Philadelphia looking to raise money for a short film we produced at the end of July.

    Director Jamie Moffett traveled to El Salvador to complete filming for his second feature-length documentary. While he was there, he happened upon the story of activist Marcelo Rivera’s disappearance and murder and felt compelled to capture his case in a seven-minute film to raise awareness of the injustice. If you’re interested, you can check out the film on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvXm52BhSHQ

    Now that the short is complete and is gaining attention, we need to raise money to cover the production costs. We were hoping to use Kickstarter to raise funds, but need an invitation to set up the funding project.

    Would you be able to provide us with an invitation to start funding for our piece?

    Thanks so much, and we appreciate the help!

    Rebekah

    on behalf of Jamie Moffett

  57. I love this idea, so much so it made my Wednesday post on my blog. Would further love an invite in order to create promotional material (shirts, vinyl stickers, buttons) for oneoddgentleman.com

    I’m fully capable of designing it and finding an audience that would want it, just the kickstart (no pun intended) is missing.

    Regardless, love the idea!

  58. Hi!

    I am an unemployed and currently looking for seed funding for a project. Can I please get an invite to Kickstarter. Is there a max amount you can raise?

    Thanks

    andrew Greenhut

  59. I’m in the process of building my website and publishing a book. I’ve got a belly full of ideas for books and other projects involving writing and communication. How can I get invited to post a project on kickstarter?

    Thank you.

    Deborah

  60. Hello!

    I’m trying to start a bookshop/cafe and performance area for local artists in Boston to benefit my nonprofit organization, Blue Kitabu. We work in Africa on sustainable development iniatives and need a business to sustain ourselves as well! We think this could generate all the revenue we need to do projects abroad and operate an office here in Boston. For every $1 donated to the shop, we expect a $100+ return to our projects!

    Invites anyone, please? =)

    Thanks so much!

    Elizabeth

  61. We operate a funky concession stand that sells Chicken and Waffles in Austin TX. We’d like to raise money to build out our second vehicle so we can do events and catering. We’ve become a local institution but need some help to expand.

    An invite would be appreciated.

    Best,

    J

  62. Hey Andy!

    I would like to use Kickstarter to fund “The Kingsbridge Project,” a medieval summer camp for disadvantaged and underprivileged children. Imagine a sprawling medieval village complete with a keep where groups such as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital could bring groups of kids to become knights and princesses for a while.

    The KS project would first be used to raise the money to get planners on board (architects, grant writers, etc.) and come up with the first set of plans and ideas. Then, we could continue to use Kickstarter to fund the project itself during the building phases. I would love to have an invite to make this dream come true!

    Avery W. Krouse

  63. Hi Andy,

    This seems like a great idea and I’d love to get an invite to be able to continue to work on my body art and be able to continue new things with tattoos. In addition I’d like to start a project that would help me take my 6 year old son overseas so that he can experience different cultures and have a better understanding of the world around us. I think it would be amazing for him to be able to see Rome, Venice, and Sweden (family history is from Sweden). Thanks Andy!

  64. Andy, what a novel idea in a world that has it all. Please send me out an invite ’cause I’m looking to change the social meaning of ‘other drivers’ with an invention for the car. Thanksamil.

  65. Thanks, everyone! I’m not giving out any more invites. You can get an invite from an existing member, or sign up to get notified when Kickstarter opens to the public.

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