Kickstarter target="_blank" href="http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/kickstarter-in-the-uk"> today announced it will allow projects to be based in the U.K. on its crowdfunding site beginning October 31. This marks the first time Kickstarter projects will be able to be built around bank accounts located outside of the U.S., and in tandem with that announcement, the site also introduced streamlined international shipping options that make it easier and clearer for project creators to either collect additional funds for shipping out-of-country, or limit their projects to domestic backers only.
This is a move that should help Kickstarter grow its international user base (it actually already hosts projects based outside of the U.S.; funds just come through U.S.-based bank accounts for the projects in question), which in turn could help it make up revenue that may be lost in other areas of the site’s business. Recently, for example, Kickstarter introduced new, more strict rules around hardware projects. Now users have to have a physical prototype, and post an explanation of the possible stumbling blocks involved in bringing the product to market.
Gadgets represent a significant portion of Kickstarter’s overall revenue picture. Design, the category where most of the hardware products on the site resides, accounts for $55.51 million of Kickstarter’s total successful funding dollars as of this writing. That’s a big piece of the pie, and one that’s probably going to contract a bit, or at least grow at a slower rate compared to other categories now that anyone with a CAD render can’t just say they’re creating the next great iPhone dock.
A new international market could make up for any losses Kickstarter might encounter from being more cautious about, or even moving out of the gadget space. The U.K. is a first step, but expect other markets to come online in the near future, too, as Kickstarter looks to scale its crowdfunding model and stay ahead of competitors, while shifting focus away from accessories and doodads.