by Andreas Suranto
Creative minds will soon have a new platform to kickstart their creative projects. People with innovative ideas will have greater opportunity to gain support from public, instead of well-suited investors, to fund their projects.
Kickstarter, the biggest crowd-funding platform in the United States and the United Kingdom, has been available in Australia and New Zealand from 13 November although people have been able to post their projects since early October. According to Kickstarter, the one-month gap between posting and the official launch was to give people plenty of time to build and tweak their projects.
Kickstarter also used the time gap to conduct Kickstarter School to instruct people on how to properly use the crowd-funding platform, including posting a project and marketing it well to potential backers.
A project launch is deemed successful only after the pledged money reaches the sum the project starter needs.
A backer who pledges funds may get a reward, in the form of finished product, vouchers, an official thank you or getting a character in a book named after the backer.
Kickstarter has a 43 per cent success rate globally. It has supported up to 50,000 successful projects, with the total of money raised exceeding US$850 million.
So far, 26 of the successful projects have been Australian.
‘Aquarium of the Pacific Gyre’ by Marina debris, is one of them. She constructed an aquarium containing a mass of oceanic trash found washed up on the beach that was included in Sculptures by the Sea along the Bondi to Tamarama Coastal Walk. She used a smaller version indoors when conducting workshops with Sydney school children.
Ms DeBris launched the project on Kickstarter to raise some money to help her fund the project; Sculpture by the Sea also provided some funds as did corporate advisory firm Greenstone Partners.
She was also invited by Sculpture by the Sea to display selections from her collection ‘Beach Couture: A Haute Mess’. The collection features mannequins wearing fashionable clothes made from trash found on the beach.
Another successful Kickstarter project was that of American-born artist and a painter, Kim Leutwyler. “My first Kickstarter project was to find homes in Sydney for all of my paintings, and to establish my practice here. I was lucky to gain the support of 84 backers, who pledged a total of over $5,000,” she says. “The second campaign, I need to fund three exhibits for which I raised $3,237.”
Ms Leutwyler is excited to see Kickstarter expanding to Australia. “Kickstarter will enable artists and creative thinkers to make their dream projects into reality,” she says. “I’ve already had a number of Australians reaching out to me for advice on Kickstarter campaigns.”
The expansion of Kickstarter will allow people to launch a project without having to create a US or UK bank account and Australian backers will no longer pay through Amazon, as in the past. Pledges will be paid directly to Kickstarter through a third-party payments processor.
However, the fee remains at 5 per cent for successfully funded projects, with no fee for unsuccessful projects.
However, as Ms Leutwyler says, “It’s important to note that Kickstarter is not a magical source of funding. Starters must work hard to spread the word about projects through social media, press releases, local events and good old fashioned word-of-mouth.
“Kickstarter is a great platform to set your goals and get your friends involved, while also expanding to new audiences,” she says.