On Friday, Kickstarter will celebrate its eighth birthday.
But on Tuesday night, it marked another major milestone: More than $US3 billion (£2.3 billion) has now been pledged to projects on the crowdfunding platform.
“I don’t think this was ever a goal we had in mind, or a place we thought we would be,” CEO Yancey Strickler told Business Insider.
“I think when we were first starting, the dream was just to get new creative ideas funded, and I think we hoped that would work … in the second or third year, we got a sense of ‘wow, this is really growing, and we may cross a billion dollars one day,’ and now it just keeps going up and up.”
Founded on April 28, 2009, New York-headquartered Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform aimed at supporting creative projects. Users can pledge to financially support games, gadgets, comics, and other projects in return for tiered rewards, with funds only collected if the campaign hits a pre-decided fundraising goal before its time runs out.
Over its eight years, it has funded some major successes — including irreverent card game “Cards Against Humanity” and virtual reality headset Oculus Rift (later sold to Facebook for $US2 billion).
The “blockbuster projects” that attract most funding and backers are technology projects and tabletop games, Strickler said — but when it comes to numbers of projects, the category is in the minority. “There are more music projects and film projects than anything else.”
Overall, 12.7 million people have supported 123,587 successful Kickstarter projects since the company’s launch.
The $US3 billion milestone figure refers both to funds pledged to successful projects, and those that failed to meet their goal. In practice, around 85% of money pledged is collected, Strickler said — around $US2.75 billion (£2.1 billion).
Kickstarter hopes to hit the $US4-billion-pledged milestone “some time next year,” the CEO said.
In October 2015, Kickstarter made a significant and unusual change to its corporate structure — become a “Public Benefit Corporation.” The status requires them to consider their positive good on society as one of their “legally defined goals.” Since the change, the chief exec said, the company has become much more active in supporting causes it cares about like artists’ rights — and there has been a significant uptick in people looking to work for Kickstarter.
Strickler also hinted that his company has some big plans for later in 2017: “We’re working towards some major things we hope will surprise and excite people … our goal is to serve artists and creators, and my dream is that we are one of the most trusted companies in the world and every artist. And so the steps we’ll be taking, the products we’ll be doing, the initiatives we’ll be announcing, are all intended to really speak to artists and creative people, and to signal to them that in Kickstarter they have a company that is truly trying to fight for their benefit, and is putting a stake in the ground for the rights and needs of creative people.”