After more than four years on the job, Kickstarter CEO Perry Chen is passing the torch. Co-founder Yancey Strickler will be taking over the role of CEO henceforth, while Chen will move on to the role of Chairman. Additionally, co-founder Charles Adler will step away from the company in order to move back to Chicago, though he’ll remain as an advisor.
“I’m looking forward to stepping away from the day-to-day to consider our path from a new perspective,” said Perry Chen in a blog post Wednesday. “In the Chairman role I’ll continue to offer big-picture guidance, support key projects, and assist our amazing team. I’m also looking forward to having time to work on creative projects of my own, after all these years working on an engine to support them.”
The news comes just one day after the company announced that since launch, more than five million people around the world have pledged some $848.7 million on the site. Over 50,700 projects have been funded to date, and the funding success rate has reached 43.48%. (I once contributed to a Kickstarter campaign for a friend’s indie movie because I was 99.9% sure his project wouldn’t reach its funding goal of $20,000. Lo and behold, after raising $5000 from friends, some wealthy someone-or-other chipped in the remaining $15,000 and I was out $30.)
At its current pace, Kickstarter will pass $1 billion in pledges in early 2014, some time before its fifth birthday.
The most common pledge amount remains $25 and most of Kickstarter’s successful campaigns raise less than $10,000. Fewer than 0.1% raise more than $1 million. Back in August, director Spike Lee raised $1.3 million on Kickstarter for his newest film, which is known only as “The Newest Hottest Spike Lee Joint.” The record for the most money raised, however, goes to Pebble, which raised $10 million for its smartwatch, even though it only set out to raise $100,000.
Interestingly, 60% of the money pledged on Kickstarter comes from repeat backers (people who have backed two or more projects), which make up less than a third of all Kickstarter contributors.
“Kickstarter’s mission is to help bring creative projects to life,” wrote Chen. “We aim for Kickstarter to serve this mission for generations. Hats will change. Hats will change again. In the next few months we'll pass a billion dollars pledged on Kickstarter. We could have never imagined we'd get this far. This is still just the beginning.”