Kickstarter Wants to Be More Than a Crowdfunding Platform
Kickstarter is nearly synonymous with the idea of crowdfunding.
And yet, the platform's leader says its ambitions extend beyond it.
“We don’t want to ride the same horse into the sunset,” said Yancey Strickler, a co-founder and CEO of Kickstarter, in an interview with Jessi Hempel as part of the 92nd Street Y's weeklong 7 Days of Genius Festival.
Though Yancey wouldn’t disclose exactly what Kickstarter’s life beyond crowdfunding will look like, he did say that innovation within Kickstarter is a priority right now. On average, Yancey spends the equivalent of about a day per week working on planning a roadmap for how the Brooklyn-based platform will innovate beyond crowdfunding.
“Our mission statement is to help bring creative projects to life,” Strickler said. “Our mission statement does not contain the word crowdfunding.”
He continued: "We pioneered [crowdfunding] and made it incredibly popular, but it was never the intent. It was a really interesting mechanic that Perry (another Kickstarter co-founder) dreamt up to allow art and creative projects to happen. Always the focus was on the output."
Any new tool or service that Kickstarter rolls out will do just that, and support creative people early on in the idea manifestation and creative process. Unlike the billion-dollar arsenals companies such as Google and Facebook can readily access to invest in research and development labs, Kickstarter, which currently employs 135 people, is working with a much tighter pool of resources as it brainstorms its next chapter.
“We have some ideas that we are very excited about,” says Strickler. “There are going to be way more misses than hits for sure, but having the stomach and having the drive and the willingness to challenge what is already a successful enterprise and make it into something fundamentally new and even more meaningful -- that’s everything.”
Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.