Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter released its 2014 breakdown yesterday, trumpeting a total of $529 million pledged by 3.3 million backers. (NB: Pledged dollars do not equal spent dollars, given that crowdfunding pledges are not necessarily concrete unless a project is successfully funded.)
Update: Kickstarter has confirmed the “successful dollars” in 2014 summed to $444 million (out of the pledged $529M total). Its total cumulative successful dollars figure since the platform launched is $1.27 billion. “It took about five years to get to a billion and in 2014 alone we did nearly half of that,” said a spokesman.
The technology category attracted the largest single chunk of backing ($125 million pledged), putting a partial value on people’s hankering for sci-fi gadgetry. However tech was far from being the most successfully funded category, with just 1,124 tech projects funded in 2014. The most successful categories for being funded on Kickstarter were music (4,009), film & video (3,846), and publishing (2,064).
One factor to note on 2014 Kickstarter is the company stopped pre-vetting projects last year, opening the floodgates to all and sundry’s madcap ideas for throwing money at. You could call it its potato salad moment. Albeit, Kickstarter’s spokesman is keen to point out it does still have rules about what can and can’t launch on its platform, even if it now lets project makers launch immediately (so a portion of projects end up getting pulled).
One pertinent metric for quantifying crowdfunding which we remain in the dark about is of course how many of the successfully funded Kickstarter projects have been — or go on to be — successfully delivered. The only statistic we have on that is this: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Back to the stats we do have: just 22,253 projects were successfully funded by Kickstarter in 2014, which is a rise on last year’s total (of 19,911) — but a small one. The total number of backers also only saw a small bump (up from 3M to 3.3M). However Kickstarter said 2,202,171 people backed a project for the first time in 2014. Which is a majority of the total backers, illustrating the level of backer fatigue (if people aren’t returning to back projects the next year) — although around a third evidently did come back for more last year.
Safe to say crowdfunding is an increasingly crowded space, with multiple platforms vying for cash and attention, which means that carving out the more sizable growth of its earlier years is evidently proving a difficult trick for Kickstarter to pull off. But it’s continuing to push the needle.
Kickstarter’s 2013 breakdown recorded a total of three million crowdfunders pledging a total of $480 million (and less than 20,000 projects successfully funded). We also covered its 2012 numbers here. Performance back then broke down to 2.24 million backers pledging $320 million, and 18,109 successfully funded projects. While, back in 2011, the dollars pledged figure was just shy of the $100 million mark, with around a million backers.
The lion’s share of the crowdfunding pledges on Kickstarter’s platform in 2014 still come from the U.S., with $335.5 million of the $529 million pledged total coming from some 2.2 million American wallets. Second for pledges was the U.K., with $39.06 million from more than 260,000 backers, followed by Canada with $27.65 million from just over 170,000 backers, and Australia with $19.83 million from just under 99,000 backers.
Wednesday afternoons were the most popular time for people to pledge to projects in 2014. And the month with the most successfully funded projects was August, when 2,311 projects hit their target. The least successfully funded month was, perhaps unsurprisingly, January, when only 1,242 projects flew.
Among the most backed projects of 2014 were LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow reboot (backed by almost 106,000 crowdfunders), followed by a ridiculously tricked out beer cooler (~63,000 backers). On the tech side, a smartphone controlled paper airplane project (~21,000) and the Sense sleep tracker (~19,000) also pulled in a relatively high number of backers vs other projects launched on the platform.