Founder Stories (Kickstarter): Going Direct To The Audience For Crowdsourced Funding

If you want to crowdsource the funding for a project—whether it is a product, album, or a film—one of the best places to find both patrons and early customers is Kickstarter. In this week’s episode of Founder Stories, host Chris Dixon dives deep into the crowdsourced-funding phenomenon with Kickstarter founder Perry Chen.

The majority of projects on Kickstarter are creative ones involving film, art, or music. But product design and startups can be just as creative. Chen describes the funding model on Kickstarter as “somewhere between commerce and patronage.” And some of the most notable projects are technology products, including open social network Diaspora and the TikTok iPod Nano watch that raised almost $1 million.

In the videos below, Dixon and Chen discuss what made those two projects take off. Chen also offers advice for how to kickstart your own project on his site.

Rule No.1: Think what you can give your audience that is of value, whether that is early access to your project or a discount. “This is not about extracting value,” he advises. It’s a two-way street.

Rule No. 2: Promote the hell out of your project. “You have to be willing to market it to your audience,” says Chen. “You have to get the ball going. The Internet is not just going to find you.”

Founder Stories is a new series on TCTV where founder and angel investor Chris Dixon talks about startups with other founders and investors. Please let us know in comments who else you’d like to see Chris talk to in future episodes.

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