2009 was Kickstarter’s inaugural year, and it was a special one. Great projects were greenlit, amazing rewards were mailed, and a whole new way of funding creative projects began to take shape.
This week we’ll be examining some of the standouts from the past year, highlighting our favorites and a slew of notables. We’re kicking things off today with Kickstarter By the Numbers.
Highest Funding Total: Designing Obama, $84,613.81
Runner-Up: The Vanderbilt Republic Foundation, “Masters”, $50,264.50
Scott Thomas was Design Director for the Obama presidential campaign, and earlier this year he decided to create a deluxe art book collecting key design elements from both inside and outside the historic election. Thomas could have gone the traditional publishing route, but instead he opted for Kickstarter’s “Obama-like funding model” (quoting Scott’s project vid) and keeping creative control of his work. The response was tremendous: nearly $85,000 in pre-orders in less than two months.
Runner up: the Vanderbilt Republic Foundation’s “Masters” which sent a team of photographers to Cambodia to document traditional musicians. It earned more than $50,000.
Best Selling Reward: Designing Obama, “Receive a copy of the book with a white embossed sleeve…” $50 (911 backers)
Runner-Up: Poorcraft, “A hard copy of Poorcraft signed by myself and the artist, Diana Nock” $10 (486 backers)
No surprise to see who heads this category — more than 900 people pledged $50 for a copy of the Designing Obama book. The runner-up is more unexpected: IronSpike’s Poorcraft, a comic-based guide to living frugally as an artist. Priced at a very reasonable $10, nearly 500 backers picked up a copy. Very impressive!
Most Prolific Backer: Jonas Landin (56 projects!)
Jonas Landin, Kickstarter’s Most Prolific Backer, has pledged to an amazing 56 projects. What motivates him? “It feels really nice to be able to partially fund some one who has an idea they want to realise,” he writes. “It’s like micro loans meets venture capital for creative people. I know I would have been happy if someone believed in my idea and were ready to help me fund it.”
Most Comments (Single Project Update, Public Posts Only): Robin Writes a Book
We repeatedly praised Robin Sloan’s project updates here on the blog, and with good reason. Robin invested tons of time into keeping his backers updated on the evolution of his novel, Annabel Scheme. His backers responded in kind: Robin’s “The Moving Monks, a mysterious package, and a contribution to the commons” update featured 39 responses to the latest updates on his work.
Longest Project Update: Kicey to Iceland, The Full Report
Laura Kicey is a photographer who used her Flickr community to finance an excursion to Iceland, offering backers beautiful prints for their support. After returning from her trip, Laura posted an epic — and we do mean epic — project update recounting her entire journey. Weighing in at a hefty 24,418 characters, it’s a spectacular travelogue.
Most Project Updates: Electronola: An Electronic Gumbo of New Orleans Music
Runner-Up: Join the Multiplex: Book 1 Club of Awesome
Earl Scioneaux’s Electronola project wins the Project Updates categories in quantity while sacrificing nothing in quality. A New Orleans-based electronic musician, producer, and engineer, Earl joyously documented each stage of his new record, including sessions with NOLA jazz legends like George Porter and Shannon Powell. And then of course there was the update from the backer gumbo party — one of Earl’s rewards was homemade gumbo for $50, and he invited backers into the studio to enjoy it. Great stuff.
Most (Number) Successful Projects: Jerry Paffendorf
Jerry Paffendorf is Kickstarter’s most prolific creator to date. His Loveland project — selling one million square inches of property in Detroit for $1 per inch — has been the subject of no less than eight successfully funded Kickstarter projects, and his ninth is due to cross the finish line this week.
Highest Percentage Raised: Loveland Round 6: A Force More Powerful
Jerry’s Loveland Round 6 holds the Universal Record Database mark for Most Overfunded Kickstarter Project, and he’s a shoo-in here too. Jerry’s project reached a stratospheric 1,000,000% funded — albeit with a one cent ($.01) project goal. More impressive is Polyvinyl’s project, which raised 1,500% of its $1,000 goal.