To some the idea is controversial, but I am a big fan of the idea of crowdfunding projects, and of services that level the playing field for people who have great ideas but no connections, and no idea how, to make them a reality.
Despite competition from services like IndieGoGo, Kickstarter is the premiere platform for these types of projects to get funded. If there was any doubt about that, it was put to rest on Monday when the company announced that it has reached $1 billion in total pledges. That money came from 5.7 million people.
Even more impressive: half of that total came in just the last year! A total of $480 million was donated by three million people to 19,911 Kickstarter projects in 2013. That included successful projects, unsuccessful projects and live projects.
Here are some more stats that Kickstarter provided along with the news: the funding has come from 224 countries and territories, and all seven continents, with by far the most coming from the United States.
The U.S. promised $663.3 million, followed by the United Kingdom, which pledged $54.4 million. Other big donors include Canada, Australia, Germany and France.
Of the 5.7 who have given money on the site, 1.7 million of those have given to more than one project. Roughly 16,000 have backed more than 50 projects. In all, returning backers has pledged $619 million.
It should be noted here that when Kickstarter says that those were pledged dollars, that also includes projects that were either not successful, or are still in the process of raising funding. If the projects hits its deadline with a fraction of its funding goal and doesn't cross the 100% mark, then backers' credit cards are not charged, and no money changes hands.
According to the company's stat page, its success rate is 43.55%. Out of 135,366 projects, 57,133 of those were successful, while 74,050 were not successfully funded.
Historically, 89% of of dollars pledged are given to successfully funded projects.
Some of Kickstarter's most successful graduates includes the shipment of the Pebble smartwatch in July of last year, after it became the most successful Kickstarter project ever in 2012, raising $10.3 million from nearly 70,000 backers.
There was also the release of gaming console Ouya, which raised almost $8.6 million from over 63 thousand backers. The company also raised $15 million in funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mayfield Fund, NVIDIA, Shasta Ventures, and Occam Partners in May.
The most notable success on the site was probably the Veronica Mars movie.
Rob Thomas, the creator of the cult TV show, started a Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to get a film of the show made. The initial goal was set at $2 million, which was met within 10 hours of the start of the campaign. The project actually wound breaking the record as the fastest project to reach first $1 million, then $2 million.
The Kickstarter campaign ended on April 13, with 91,585 donors raising $5,702,153. A small, little-loved TV show had come back from the dead because the fans wanted it to.
That turned out to be controversial, however, after it led to big name stars like Zach Braff, and Spike Lee, to also use the site to fund their new projects, causing the Kickstarter's founders to defend the practice.
None of that has seemed to make much of a difference, though, as evidenced by the meteoric rise of the crowdfunding site over the last year.
(Image source: kickstarter.com)