Crowding Around: A Rundown Of Kickstarter Wannabes

Since 2008, Kickstarter has helped users raise more than $221 million. Is it any wonder niche crowdfunders are now mimicking its model?

Crowding Around: A Rundown Of Kickstarter Wannabes



Launched: MARCH 2009

THE PITCH Fundly allows not-for-profits to focus on the quality and reach of fundraising campaigns by facilitating the gathering of cash.
THE TWIST In lieu of giving money, supporters can write thank-you notes or promote causes. “It’s not only about raising money. It’s about gathering supporters,” says CEO Dave Boyce. “We make it easier to donate social capital.”
USER BASE With causes ranging from national politicians to charity runs, people from all walks chip in.
FUNDS FACTS Roughly 20% of projects meet their goal. The site pulls in an average donation of about $94, and the fee for projects is 3.5% to 4.9%.
BIGGEST SUCCESS Former HP CEO Meg Whitman tallied $23 million for her ill-fated 2010 California gubernatorial campaign.


Launched: JANUARY 2010

THE PITCH Developers sell a stake in apps to buy time to develop them.
THE TWIST“Backrs” are actually buying a number of licenses for the app based on a set wholesale price. When the app is released, the Backrs recoup the difference between the retail and wholesale price for each of their licenses. Even companies such as Intel have funded projects.
USER BASE Largely male, in two main groups: developers and people doing discovery.
FUNDS FACTS About 55% of projects meet their goal, with a hefty average buy-in of around $340. When an app gets funded the site takes 10%, and another 5% from ensuing sales.
BIGGEST SUCCESS An iPhone utility called Flashlight–it does exactly what you think–raised $101,000.



Launched: FEBRUARY 2012

THE PITCH Crowdtilt aims to help friends kick in money for group causes.
THE TWIST Other platforms exist to cast a wide net in search of funding. Crowdtilt narrows the focus to take the risk and stress out of coordinating collective purchases–think party buses, tailgates, and group vacations.
USER BASE Skews young: predictably, the site has been well received by circles of friends in, or right out of, college.
FUNDS FACTS Early returns are promising: a sturdy 89% of projects have been funded, pulling in an average contribution of $68. The site keeps 2.5% of the final tally.
BIGGEST SUCCESS After its diocese had to rein in funding, John Paul II Catholic High School in Tallahassee, Florida, raised $99,200 to help stay afloat.


Launched: MARCH 2012

THE PITCH There was no easy way for individuals to support the research of scientists. Now there is.
THE TWIST Projects are reviewed before visitors can donate. “We look at the background of the researchers, the quality of the project, and its affiliation with reputable institutions,” says CEO Matt Salzberg.
USER BASEA broad range of professional researchers and science enthusiasts.
FUNDS FACTS 80% of campaigns hit their goals, and visitors pony up an average of $70. The site takes 5% for its efforts in advancing science.
BIGGEST SUCCESS Harvard astronomer David Kipping raised $12,000 to help process data from the Kepler telescope as part of his quest to locate exomoons–moons outside our universe.

Illustrations by alberto antoniazzi

About the author

I've written about innovation, design, and technology for Fast Company since 2007. I was the co-founding editor of FastCoLabs