Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Kickstarter’s billion-dollar man

kickstarter.jpg
kickstarter2.jpg

Kickstarter’s Yancey Strickler on how his crowdfunding website became a phenomenon

“On a Tuesday evening in 2009, a guy raised $35 from three people,” Yancey Strickler tells ShortList, seeming still surprised about it. “But that was huge because it said, ‘Holy sh*t, this thing actually works!’” Five years on from that first pledge (for an online illustration resource called ‘Drawing For Dollars’), and Kickstarter – the crowdfunding website Strickler co-founded – gives anyone with an idea the power to raise $1m in a day. In fact, as of last week, a total of $1bn has now been pledged to fund local art projects, space missions and, er, a DeLorean Hovercraft (above).

So how did it happen? And why are people just giving away money in a recession? “That’s the question every investor asked back when we were just three guys with an idea. For me, Kickstarter’s success is that it appeals to human instincts. We all want to be part of something bigger. And people get a direct say in our culture – it goes back to the Medicis and the patron system."

But while Da Vinci would have approved of the crowdfunded, human-powered helicopter, how does one gain backing?

“Be your authentic, weird self,” says Strickler. “That’s what we’re most proud of – the bonkers stuff, like the family who conducted a census of all the squirrels in their park.”

Squirrel-wrangling aside, Strickler is proud of the impactful stuff, too: “The Oculus Rift [virtual-reality headset] is sick. It’s the one thing in the history of the internet that really lives up to the hype. People are going to lose their sh*t.”

It’s a refreshing turn of phrase for a man worth billions: “Honestly? I see it as a privilege to serve this concept. I’m not interested in owning a yacht or seven Siberian tigers. But I tend to buy a lot more drinks these days…”

(DeLorean image: Nick Baker)

Related

ryno2.jpg

The bizarre one-wheeled motorcycle

spin3.jpg

Get your own perfect spinning top

google-glass.jpg

UK's Top five wearable gadgets

main1.jpg

Leica's incredible paper camera

dash.jpg

The Dash Smart headphones

box3.jpg

JJ Abrams' Mystery Box Playing Cards

Comments

More

Amazon's new Alexa update means it can bring you beer in two hours

"Alexa, we're going to need more booze"

by Matt Tate
21 Mar 2017

This terrifying gadget allows you to make private calls in public

Be like Bane

by Gary Ogden
15 Mar 2017

You'll soon be able to pay for your shopping with your sunglasses

I'm still not happy until I can pay with my underwear

by Gary Ogden
15 Mar 2017

This iPhone case is actually just an entire new Android phone

A phone within a phone

by Gary Ogden
14 Mar 2017

There's a new app for opening bottles because everyone is lazy now

Put that wrist away!

by Gary Ogden
06 Mar 2017

These comments from 2001 about the world's first camera phone are gold

"Take pictures of friendly dogs I see when I walk around""I would use the camera phone to take pictures of my best friend, my dog Benson"

by Gary Ogden
01 Mar 2017

This projector turns anything into a touchscreen

We're living in the future

by Gary Ogden
28 Feb 2017

Everything we know about the new Nokia 3310

The brick is back

by Matt Tate
24 Feb 2017

20 Things You'll Only Understand If You Owned A Nokia 3310

14 Feb 2017

The Nokia 3310 is getting a relaunch (yes, really)

The return of the King

by Gary Ogden
14 Feb 2017