It’s not often that a startup changes the way the world works, but Kickstarter has done just that. The crowdfunding site had a banner 2013 and has won the Best Overall Startup award at this year’s Crunchies.
The category was packed with strong contenders. CloudFlare is a silent partner to the modern content delivery system of the Internet. Snapchat is a young but powerful entry into the consumer Internet market, and Twitter has enabled global real-time conversations without any filter — for better or for worse.
Our runner-up startup of the year, Uber, is challenging the transportation status quo and ruffling feathers wherever people use car services.
But Kickstarter has done something special in the possibilities that it’s opened up for makers of this and future generations. It has democratized the production of hardware, movies, software and other creative endeavors — allowing individuals unprecedented ability to make what they dream outside of the corporate combine.
Its ability to tap funding sources who eventually become its consumers have turned funding models upside down. The company simultaneously fostered a sense of ownership and community around product development and acted as a way for makers to open up about the successes and setbacks of transforming a product from idea to execution.
In 2013, Kickstarter had 3 million crowdfunders pledge $480 million with 19,911 successfully funded projects. That marks up to over $13 million pledged per day spread out over the year. That compares to $320 million in 2012 and $100 million in 2011, so it continues to illustrate the desire of people to be directly involved in helping makers to make.
Late last year, the company announced that co-founder Perry Chen would step down as CEO and move to a chairman role — to focus on big picture guidance. Co-founder Yancey Strickler has stepped into the CEO slot and is considered by many to be the perfect choice to take on that challenge.
The act of making has never been more accessible or more transparent, and Kickstarter has a lot to do with that. The next few years will be interesting ones for crowdfunding and we’re sure they’ll be in the mix.