Our Design & Tech Team’s ‘Request for Projects’

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LightSail is a citizen-funded spacecraft built by the Planetary Society.
LightSail is a citizen-funded spacecraft built by the Planetary Society.

You probably know that at Kickstarter we love to celebrate great creators and great projects. But you may not know that we also put a lot of effort into finding great creators and helping them launch those projects.

That’s the main role of our Design & Technology outreach team, which I lead. And as part of our endless quest for projects, we've decided to try something new. Inspired in part by Y Combinator’s requests for startups, we're going public with a list of the things we’d love to see more of on Kickstarter. We hope this inspires creators who are working in these areas to get in touch. If your project fits the bill, we can help make it shine and spotlight it for our community of 13 million backers.

Here are the three main areas our team members are focusing on this year: 

Wazer uses water and abrasive particles to cut metal and other materials.
Wazer uses water and abrasive particles to cut metal and other materials.

 Tools for Creating

Our mission is to help bring creative projects to life, so we love it when creators make tools that help people be creative in new ways. Call it the creativity multiplier effect. We’re into devices that bring factory techniques to the desktop, like Wazer, and electronic building blocks for new kinds of devices, like Particle. We like new kinds of musical instruments, like Artiphon. We seek out innovative gear for capturing and displaying photos and video, like the projects from Lomography. And we love to fill our kitchens with cool tools for cooking, baking, and brewing, like Pico and Nomiku.

Zach Dunham is our outreach lead working with creators in this area from our Brooklyn headquarters. (He’s also behind the Public Radio.)

The OpenROV Trident is a robot for underwater exploration.
The OpenROV Trident is a robot for underwater exploration.

 Boundary Pushers

This is about creators who are taking their backers to a place they’ve never been before. Perhaps they’re launching spacecraft, like LightSail, or underwater drones, like OpenROV. Maybe they’re building things that bring us all a little closer to the future, like Oculus or OpenPCR. Or they might be making new discoveries by letting their backers help with the research, like Foldscope and KittyBiome. These are all projects that are leaping over boundaries, with the help of backers who are eager to support real innovation and watch it unfold.

Clarissa Redwine, our West Coast outreach lead based in San Francisco, is proud to work with these projects and to wave her science-geek flag.

The Lumos helmet has brake lights that know when you're braking.
The Lumos helmet has brake lights that know when you're braking.

 Delightful Design

Heather Corcoran, our London-based outreach lead for Europe, looks for projects that emphasize inventive design and fine craftsmanship. This includes hardware projects that fuse technology, industrial design, and user experience into a cohesive and compelling package, like Kano and Lumos. But we also love projects that use design to elevate our appreciation of everyday things, like the Lumio lamp. And it’s particularly exciting when designers use their skills to pursue broader goals that can benefit an entire community, as with the Thames Baths project.

Kickstarter projects have been recognized at the highest levels of the design profession — you can even pick up a batch of them at the MoMA Design Store. Heather would love to talk to talented designers who are working on their first, second, or fifteenth product and want to take it straight to our community.

The Thames Baths project aims to reintroduce swimming to London's waterways.
The Thames Baths project aims to reintroduce swimming to London's waterways.

While we know there’s plenty of exciting work happening outside of these three areas, we think our team can have more of an impact if we focus our efforts. Projects that aren't covered above are, of course, still more than welcome on Kickstarter. We have a thriving community of backers who love supporting projects of all shapes and sizes.

We chose these areas in part by thinking about the goals and values set out in our company charter. Kickstarter is a public benefit corporation, which means our benchmarks for success are not just financial ones. When deciding which projects to support, we ask ourselves: Does this project make the world more creative, interesting, beautiful, or equitable? If this describes your project, and it's in one of our focus areas, we encourage you to get in touch with our team!

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