Getting Funded and Discovered
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In our most recent podcast I spoke with Famulus, a hacker and developer who is building an open source fusion reactor (his project ended just yesterday). Early in the life of his Kickstarter project, Famulus was contacted by a Dutch energy investor, and the two discussed potential investment that stretched well into the millions. As Famulus explained, the investor came upon his project while browsing Kickstarter looking exactly for something exactly like what he was doing.
As fantastic as the fusion story is, it’s not uncommon. Just yesterday the journalist and cartoonist Ted Rall shared some big news in a project update: if his project to send him to Afghanistan is successfully funded, Farrar, Strauss & Giroux (a major publisher) will publish a book collecting his reporting from the trip.
In Rall’s case there’s more to his story than the Kickstarter project (he is an accomplished journalist with several published books under his belt), but the project was the impetus for submitting his goal into the world. As his potential publishers correctly surmised, $20,000 worth of support from people like you and me signals clear interest in Rall, the subject matter, and even funding journalism in this format.
Several film projects have had similar experiences, and we had another great example just two days ago. Mattson Tomlin is the 19-year-old filmmaker behind Solomon Grundy, a film project that has done well on the site. In a project update over the weekend, Tomlin revealed that one of the people behind the Oscar-nominated Revolutionary Road, Henry Fernaine, had come on board as producer.
To have a seasoned veteran helping to steer the work of a first-time filmmaker will be a tremendous asset for Tomlin. And while we aren’t privy to all the details, certainly seeing Tomlin’s ambition and vision be publicly validated by his audience impacted the decision (Tomlin also once interned at Fernaine’s production studio). It illustrates how easily Kickstarter can help bridge new modes of funding and traditional channels — they are far from incompatible.
Getting discovered isn’t just for successfully funded projects, either. Back in December a project named Betacup -– whose aim was to crowdsource a new, sustainable coffee cup –- ended short of its goal. As the project was ending, creator Toby Daniels received an inquiry from an unexpected source: Starbucks, who wanted to fund the project themselves (to the tune of $20,000), with the goal of using only reusable/recyclable cups by 2015. Not only did Daniels get the money that he hoped for, but he also got Starbucks to sign-on to a more sustainable future.
There have been dozens more examples like these. Projects that attract ambient support simply by existing, by putting their ideas out into the world. It’s amazing stuff. If your project has had experiences like this, get in touch! We’d love to share your story.