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Kickstarter surpasses $2 billion in pledges

Kickstarter surpasses $2 billion in pledges

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Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter today announced that more than $2 billion has been pledged toward projects as of October 11th. It took the company, founded in 2009, nearly five years to hit the first billion dollars pledged, while the second took around only 19 months. The huge swell in crowdfunding interest over the last two years marks a turning point for platforms like Kickstarter and competitor Indiegogo, which now exist as viable funding options for creators of all types.

On a special page on its website dedicated to the news, Kickstarter laid out a number of other interesting factoids. For instance, the total number of pledging participants is around 9.5 million, with nearly 3 million of them backing between two and five projects. Around 1.7 million pledged nearly $150 million to Kickstarter projects knowing they would not receive a reward for the pledge, the company noted. Since hitting the $1 billion mark in March 2014, Kickstarter says $1,200 is pledged every minute while nine new projects have launched per hour. One jaw-dropping statistic indicates 49 people have each pledged to more than 1,000 projects.

Perhaps the most interesting information, however, is the breakdown of project launches and pledge amounts by Kickstarter category. Film and video was the leading project category with 50,852 projects launched out of a total 260,000, followed by music, publishing, games, and art. Yet games took home the most money with $412.4 million in pledges, with technology and design close behind at $360 million and $351.6 million respectively.

Over the years, Kickstarter has grappled with the ever-present disconnect between a crowdfunding pledge and a purchase. Success stories like the Pebble smartwatch and Coolest cooler delivered on their promises. But thousands of doomed ventures vacuumed up money on Kickstarter only for pledgers to later find out the ideas were either too ambitious to carry out or came from creators too naive or malicious to deliver.

49 people have each backed more than 1,000 projects

Kickstarter now exercises more discretion over its approval process with help from the Federal Trade Commission, which announced in June that it would go after fraudulent projects that take in money and fail to deliver. Just last month, Kickstarter forced the creators of a laser-based razor that amassed $4 million in pledges over to Indiegogo due to the lack of a working prototype and a rather sketchy demonstration video.

The company reincorporated itself as well, declaring in September that it was a public benefit corporation and thereby legally obligated to pursue a "positive impact on society." The move was a signal and pledge: Kickstarter wants to think of itself as a tool for financing all varieties of creative and artistic output, without its for-profit status exercising too much control over the platform's direction. However, Kickstarter, unlike Indiegogo and GoFundMe, still bars philanthropic causes on its platform.