Happy Birthday Kickstarter!
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“Kickstarter is a way to break beyond the traditional methods — loans, investment, industry deals, grants — to discover that we can offer each other value through creation without a middleman dictating the product and terms.” — Why Kickstarter? blog post, April 29, 2009
Two years ago today on April 28, 2009, Kickstarter launched. There was no party, little fanfare. Two of the first projects were launched by us. There were blog posts here and there, but for the most part our debut flew below the radar.
Some great early projects brought momentum — Allison Weiss, Kind of Bloop, Designing Obama. Each project seemed to inspire three more. And backing a project was fun. In exchange there were updates from the road, thoughtful rewards, a story to share. Every project was a quest to do something exciting, something meaningful. Everyone got to play a part.
It’s been an amazing beginning. We’ve met so many incredible people, been a part of this. We couldn’t ask for more.
To celebrate our second birthday we’ve decided to open up the vaults. We’ve dug deep into our dashboard to share pretty much every metric from Kickstarter’s first two years. The numbers and charts tell the story far better than we could. We hope you enjoy.
Unless otherwise noted, all data represents activity between April 28, 2009 - April 27, 2011. Charts by Fred Benenson.
Dollars Pledged by Month (April 2009 - March 2011)
First, here’s a chart of total dollars pledged per month. This graph is not cumulative. April (not charted) will be even bigger than March, the last month shown below.
Projects Launched by Month (April 2009 - March 2011)
The launched projects chart looks pretty similar. More than 2,000 projects launched in March. April will be even bigger.
Total Dollars Pledged and Collected
Total Dollars Pledged: $53,107,672
Dollars Collected (successful projects): ~$40 million
Dollars Uncollected (unsuccessful projects): ~$7 million
Live Dollars (currently funding projects): ~$6 million
Collection Rate: ~85%
Kickstarter operates on an all-or-nothing funding model where each project’s goal must be reached to be funded. This pie chart is a great window to how this has worked.
Of the $53 million that has been pledged, $40 million has been collected by successfully funded projects and $6 million is still live (meaning pledged to projects that are still funding). The remaining $7 million is the amount of money not collected — pledged to projects that did not meet their funding goals.
Still with us? Of the $47 million pledged to projects whose funding has ended ($40M collected + $7M uncollected), approximately 85% of the funds ($40M) were collected. This 85% collection rate has stayed quite steady over the past two years. It’s safe to expect that 85% of the $6 million that’s currently pledged to live projects will also be collected.
Now here’s a chart of the success rate of Kickstarter projects:
Launched Projects: 20,371
Successful Projects: 7,496 (43%)
Unsuccessful Projects: 9,700
Live Projects: 3,175
Approximately 43% of Kickstarter projects are successfully funded. The project success rate has held steady between 40-45%. There’s no clear benchmark to judge whether this number is “good” or “bad,” but in the concept stages of Kickstarter we had projected a 5% success rate. We think this is a great sign.
Another thing to note is the difference between the 43% success rate and the 85% pledge collection rate. This means that the overwhelming majority of pledges go to successful projects. Of the projects that do not meet their goal, 21% never receive a single pledge.
What is the tipping point for a project’s funding? With just a single pledge, a project’s chances of success jump to 52%. But at what level of funding is a project overwhelmingly likely to succeed?
Projects that reach 30% of their funding goal succeed more than 90% of the time. You can see that as the line turns green, the percent of projects that succeed approaches 100%.
Of the 20,000 projects that have launched, only one has been unsuccessful after reaching 90% of its funding goal.
Now let’s look at funding totals by category.
Film leads the pack with nearly $20 million in pledges and Music follows with more than $13 million. Ten of the 13 categories have seen more than $1 million in pledges.
Dollars Pledged by Category
Film and Music’s enormous numbers skew this list a bit. More than $2.5 million pledged to Theatre projects, $600,000 to Dance projects, almost $1 million to Comics projects — numbers we’re proud of.
Repeat Backers: 79,658
Repeat backers is the number of people who have backed more than one Kickstarter project. This is a key number for us. It’s Kickstarter’s “supply side.” They’re people who don’t just back a friend’s project, they find something else to support. And sometimes fifty other things to support. The Kickstarter staff is a prime example. Collectively we’ve backed 1,590 projects. (Now we know where our paychecks go.)
More than anything we want to say thank you. These first two years have been amazing, and we couldn’t have done it without our incredible team (now 22 strong and packed liked sardines in the Lower East Side), our friends and families, and of course you. We can’t wait to see what the next two years will bring.
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