Do you remember the first time you discovered Facebook? What about other revolutionary websites like Amazon or Google? Did you realize at the time that they would impact and change your life? Maybe you predicted that you would eventually perform thousands of searches on Google, leading you on a myriad of adventures on the web in both your personal and professional life. Maybe you knew that you would end up spending several hours a month on the social networking site, maybe even more than the average 6 1/2 hours Nielsen Research estimates per user per month on Facebook in May 2013.
By now you’re likely familiar with Kickstarter, the creative project crowdfunding website. But you may be surprised at how it is already impacting your life and will likely exponentially increase its impact in the near future. Below is a prediction of the Top Ten ways Kickstarter will impact your life in the very near future.
1. Film and Video
Film and Video made up $100 Million of the $450 Million, or 22%, of the money pledged by contributors in the first 3 years of operations. In 2012, 17 Kickstarter-funded movie projects premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. And 63 Kickstarter-funded films have opened in theaters. How big a slice of the pie can be gained from the Hollywood giants is yet to be determined, but your movie entertainment will likely cross paths with a Kickstarter film.
2. The Environment
The world is awake to the environmental impacts of our actions and our contributions (both positive and negative) to the environment. Kickstarter has launched projects that may have otherwise never received funding and will undoubtedly lead to future environmental breakthroughs. One notable project was the funding of the Safecast X Kickstarter Geiger Counter, a project that got Geiger counter devices into the hands of volunteers to help collect and distribute data to the people in Japan about radiation contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant.
Arguably there is nothing more impactful than the education of our young people, and one of the world’s foremost recognized institutions, Stanford University, is now even integrating the teaching of Kickstarter in some of its classes. At an even younger age, a group of kindergarden children raised over $12,000 to launch over 1000 experiments into space in enclosed in ping pong balls! When this writer was in kindergarten, he was focused on learning the alphabet. Oh how far we’ve come.
If you are working on a technology startup your typical options have been to bootstrap the expense yourself or attempt to convince Venture Capitalists or Angel investors to fund you, potentially giving away significant control and ownership of your company’s future. If you get your project funded through Kickstarter, you might offer your contributors a free product in the future or a guest appearance at your product launch. Hmm, which way would you prefer to fund your dream?
5. Business and Finance
Chance Barnett, co-founder and CEO of Crowdfunder, named Perry Chen, Co-founder/CEO of Kickstarter, in his Forbes.com article “Top 10 Most Influential People in Business Crowdfunding”. As of this writing business crowdfunding (think access to capital up to $1 Million available to individuals and companies big and small, while giving investors a piece of the pie without going to the stock or bond markets) is still not completely legal. The Jobs Act of 2012 approved business crowdfunding, and now the industry eagerly awaits the codification of it by the SEC. When implemented, this industry will likely explode and move up the impact list rapidly. Without Kickstarter’s success, the passage of the Jobs Act including business crowdfunding would have been extremely less likely.
6. The Media
Did you know that Kickstarter is even funding journalists around the world to cover the news? Last year journalists were funded in dozens of countries on six continents. CNN, Fox, MSNBC and Kickstarter will be your go to sources for news in the future?
7. The Arts
In addition to the movies, you will likely soon be hearing top 10 Billboard artists on the radio and buying songs on iTunes, attending a concert, play, opera (one has already premiered at The Kennedy Center), or even visiting a museum that houses a Kickstarter funded project.
Let all the gamers out there rejoice. We’ve come a long way since Pong and Atari. Gaming projects raised over $83 Million on Kickstarter in 2012. And according the Entertainment Software Rating Board, the non-profit, self-regulatory body that assigns ratings for video games and apps so parents can make informed choices, 2/3 of all U.S. households play video games. If you are a gamer and haven’t already, you’ll likely be playing a Kickstarter funded game in the very near future.
9. The World
Now let’s start to think big. From underwater robots exploring the world’s oceans, to photography exhibitions travelling across Afghanistan, to the opening up to the UK market last year, Kickstarter is truly in the baby stages of opening up to the world.
10. The Universe
Finally, let’s think REAL big. Space travel became a reality in the ‘60s, but has never been available to the common man. A project by design firm Final Frontier develops a civilian space suit. Who knows, Kickstarter may be the reason that you eventually travel into space. Now that’s a pretty big impact.