Kickstarter gives students a helping hand

Since Kickstarter launched on April 28, 2009, they have had over $350 million dollars pledged, funding more than 30,000 projects.
Since Kickstarter launched on April 28, 2009, they have had over $350 million dollars pledged, funding more than 30,000 projects.

Kickstarter is a great option for young people with big ideas but little cash–even a Leesville student could do it.

I was curious about how the whole Kickstarter experience worked, so I decided to try it out for myself. I decided to pledge $15 to a guy producing custom decks of cards. I clicked the Pledge button, and signed into my Amazon account, and my pledge offer was accepted.  

Since then, I have been getting weekly updates with the progress of my pledge. As of Oct. 25, the card company has been completely funded.

Anybody can have a great idea. Kickstarter is a website that helps fund the creative mind. People who use Kickstarter need to raise money to fund their ideas but do not want to go to a bank or can not qualify for a loan. They post a page with information about their projects to entice potential investors.

From the investor’s standpoint, it is an opportunity to be part of something exciting and new at little to no risk to the investors. Kickstarter is based on an all-or-nothing system. Each project has a minimum funding requirement.  If you, as an investor, choose to pledge a project, but the project does not meet its minimum requirement, you are not charged.

With the help of the magical internet, you can help fund any project of your choosing. Projects range from film, technology, and games to art, music and restaurants. Spend a few minutes browsing the site, and you are bound to see anything from Steampunk Holmes, an interactive e-book, to Yin & Yang dragon T-shirts.  

When you fund a project, you select a reward: a copy of what’s being made, a limited edition, or a custom experience related to the project.

Kickstarter is better than a bank for new entrepreneurs because you do not need to have prior credit history or have to jump through all the hoops required by most major banking institutions.

As Amazon replaced bookstores, and Ebay replaced auction houses, can Kickstarter replace banks? Or is it just a fun alternative?

“Kickstarter was fairly easy and straightforward” said Italo Leiva, the CEO of Leiva Strings, Inc., via email. Leiva Strings, a Raleigh-based company,  was funded on Kickstarter. “Could we do it over again, I think we would definitely make a bigger impact.”

“I feel that Kickstarter does a good job on making you provide a lot of information. This gives validity to the project for legitimacy to actually be on Kickstarter & validity to supporters.” said Leiva.

Leiva Strings was unsuccessfully funded as of Oct. 29. This means that none of the project donors were charged, and the project will not be completed.

Kickstarter worked perfectly for me. The site did not overcharge me, nor did I encounter any problems with the site.

Kickstarter may never replace the original bank for funding businesses and projects, but it sure is a heck of a lot more fun.


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