New York startup Kickstarter is one of the most interesting startups out there.
It provides a platform for people to raise money for projects. If people hit the target they set, then Kickstarter gets 5% of the money raised.
Over $20 million has been raised through Kickstarter so far. We estimate Kickstarter will generate approximately $2 million in revenue this year alone.
What makes for a good Kickstarter project? We’ve skimmed through Kickstarter’s many projects and picked out 10 biggest successes and tried to figure out what works.
The number one thing we see: Make sure you’re actually giving something to people. Especially a physical object. The number two thing: Make sure you’re targeting a passionate crowd at the right time.
'Save Blue Like Jazz' raised $345,992 to save a movie project that was going to be canceled. The book 'Blue like Jazz,' was turned into a film, but ran out of funding before it could hit the big screen. Supporters started a Kickstarter project to get it going and created what they call, 'the largest crowd-sourced creative project ever.'
What was the key? It appears the key here was that it was a project with millions of fans already built in.
Incentives? The minimal donation landed you some goodies like posters, and script pages. The director of the movie is calling people to personally thank them for donating.
Remember when everyone was freaking out about Facebook and privacy? OK, someone is ALWAYS freaking out about Facebook and privacy, but back in May it was at a peak. Diaspora took advantage of the situation to start working on its open sourced social network.
To get funding for the social network, it turned to Kickstarter and raised an astounding $200,641 from 6,479 people. One high profile donation came from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.
What was the key? Seizing the moment and riding the wave of anti-Facebook hype.
Incentive? None, aside from an alternative to Facebook. The project still hasn't produced a social network, and most people seem to be over their Facebook hate.
Dan Provost and Tom Gerhardt are two friends that decided to make a little contraption that could put your iPhone in a tripod. They wanted $10,000. They got $137,417.
What was the key? We saw the Glif featured on tech blogs including Daring Fireball and Gizmodo. After 2 hours of being featured on Daring Fireball, it had $10,000. It was a good product for tech people looking to get a steady video shot. (We bought one after shooting another shaky video for this site on our iPhone.)
Incentive? At the low price you get a Glif, so it's like you're buying the Glif not donating for no apparent reason other than feeling good.
TikTok and LunaTik are two wristbands that can turn the new iPod Nano into a watch. The project is sprung from Scott Wilson, founder of MINIMAL, a Chicago design firm that has done work with Nike and Xbox, among others.
So far, Wilson has raised $288,495 and he's still got 24 days to go. Could be a good present for someone!
What was the key? This is the second Kickstarter based on an Apple product that got good play in the tech press. Taping into the rabid culture of Apple fans and giving them something seems to be a decent strategy.
Incentive? You get one of the wrist bands at a discount if you donate $25 or above.
Musopen is a group dedicated to keeping classical music open to the public domain. The description of the project says, 'There is a lifetime of music out there, legally in the public domain, but it has yet to be recorded and released to the public.'
Musopen wanted $11,000 and it got $68,000.
What was the key? It's tapping into the niche community of people that care about classical music.
Incentive? You get the music online for $10 and over. As you donate more, you get more goodies.
Here's another neat little doodad that was able to raise a huge pile of money. Schuyler Towne, a 'competitive lockpicker' wanted to make his own tools for picking locks. He managed to raise $87,407, way above the $6,000 he wanted.
One funny note from Towne in his description: '1.Lockpicking isn't illegal. In fact, there is a vibrant Locksport community...2.It IS illegal to send lockpicks through the USPS so I will be using whichever 3rd party shipping service offers the best rates.'
What was the key? It's a freaking lockpick! Who doesn't want one? Plus, like the Glif, it's a physical object which is always nice.
Incentives? $35 or more and you get a set of picks.
The design director for the Obama campaign decided to put together a book based on cool art that was inspired by Obama's campaign.
The project had $84,613, which is just over the target of $65,000.
What was the key? Appealing to a passionate audience at the right time. (We're not sure this would work as well today, Mr. Obama isn't quite as popular.)
Incentives? $50 or more got you the book.
'The Pirate Bay - Away From Keyboard,' is another film to successfully raise funding with Kickstarter. The film raised $51,424, more than double the $25,000 goal.
What was the key? It was a film for a very passionate audience.
Incentives? Donate $10 get a link to the film when it was online.
Punk Mathematics breaks from the mould slightly, which is why we're adding it to the mix. It is a project from improv comedian and maths professor Tom Henderson to make an accessible, punk maths book. He raised $28,701 which is 10X is original goal of $2,400.
What was the key? Henderson gained attention on a few tech sites, notably BoingBoing which helped give him some juice. He also had a novel idea that was fun.
Incentives? Yes. Our favourite: above $42 you get his cell phone number and can call at any point with a maths question.
Kickstarter is a very popular place for musicians to raise money. Makes sense, especially for indie musicians in an era of (basically) free music. We assume many people feel bad about the fact that it's nearly impossible to make money on just music, so they want to contribute how they can.
Jenny Owen Young raised $38,543 to record a new album.
What was the key? She's an indie musician with a dedicated audience.
Incentives? You get the music.