The Kickstarter Blog

Creator Q&A: Feminine Transitions

  1. Happy Birthday Kickstarter!

    “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.

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    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.

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    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:

    Project Statistics

    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?

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    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.

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    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
    Art: $3,184,732
    Comics: $943,118
    Dance: $645,492
    Design: $3,601,851
    Fashion: $554,048
    Film: $19,717,790
    Food: $1,583,063
    Games: $1,052,557
    Music: $13,094,547
    Photography: $1,679,361
    Publishing: $2,732,501
    Technology: $1,748,109
    Theater: $2,570,503

    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.

    Backer Numbers
    Backers: 591,773
    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.

    Team Kickstarter

  2. Creator Q&A: Amy Finkel from Furever.

    Furever — a documentary film, by Amy Finkel

    The morning it launched on Kickstarter, Furever caused quite a stir in the interoffice email chain (where all good stirs are born). A documentary about freeze-drying your pets? A guff guy in overalls, preserving pomeranians so that weeping ladies can keep them on a pillow for always, for furever? ALL CAPS ENSUED. I watched the project video with my left eyebrow preemptively raised.

    And then I was gripped.

    First, I want all of you to watch this video. I’m serious. Now.

    FUREVER - A documentary film's video poster

    It is incredible — Mac, the freeze-drying guy, is insightful, the people who request his services fascinating, and Amy, as I think you’ll see in the Q&A that I couldn’t wait to send her, is navigating this world deftly and with grace:

    First off, I have to ask: is Mac single?

    Sorry ladies, he’s not. But I can’t tell you how often I get that question, along with a number of comments about how handsome and dazzling he is. We’ve become close friends and I couldn’t agree more; definitely a total catch! Should his status change, I’ll let you know.

    Perhaps we should schedule a follow-up interview with Mac now. Ha! Okay! So. Onto the hard stuff — Did you get to touch any of them? Are they heavy? Hollow? Do you think they float?

    I have touched them, and I did my best on two occasions to help Mac with the preparation of both a cat and a dog, in the name of research. After the freeze-drying, they’re rock-solid, completely hardened and much lighter. There’s no potential for movement whatsoever, nor any potential for decomposition, and it feels less delicate than one might expect. The fur, however, is soft; how it was when the pet was alive. I can imagine how it might offer comfort to a pet owner to feel that. Also, no, they do not float. Have you ever eaten Cup ‘O Noodles™? It’s the same technology. The noodles are freeze-dried, and only become pliable once you’ve added water. You can imagine what might happen to a freeze-dried pet if it comes in contact with liquid.

    Yikes. So, this one’s personal. If you could freeze dry any animal to hang out on your coffee table, what would it be and why?

    Well I should start by mentioning that I would never choose to freeze dry a pet. For me it would offer no comfort, simply a reminder that my pet is gone. I do, however, understand the motivation to choose that option; I can identify with that level of attachment and one’s desire not to let go. With that said, I do, actually, have two freeze-dried animals that do not hang out on my coffee table: Chompers, my groundhog, and Fleischesser, my armadillo. Mac gave them to me, along with a taxidermied wild boar’s head (Angel), as thank you gifts for making his website. I feel a bit uneasy knowing that they, likely, did not die of natural causes, nor, unlike the boar, did anyone eat their meat, so it makes me feel better to treat them in death with the dignity and respect that they never received in life. They both get frequent positive affirmations, simulated food offerings, and a pat on the head (before I wash my hands).

    That is good to hear. And what about the people you worked with — they are such characters. How did your impressions change over the course of spending time with them?

    I try not to go into any interview with preconceived notions, and with the first segment of Furever (that you can see on Kickstarter), I had absolutely no idea what I would encounter or what my subjects would be like. I never expected the pet owners to be out-of-touch with reality necessarily, but I assumed they’d be at least peculiar. Mostly, however, that peculiarity was limited to this one unconventional choice (to preserve their pet after death), and as far as I could tell, they were otherwise pretty ordinary. They simply had an immense capacity to love their pets and an unusual way of dealing with both their grief and loss. I’m not sure if it was comforting or alarming that they were otherwise so conventional.

    I love that. Okay, before I leave you, we need to talk about something serious. I saw in the comments section of your project that there was an amazing conversation happening around the potential freeze-drying human beings. Um, WHAT?

    It’s true! Mac gets numerous requests every year from people hoping to have their human loved ones freeze-dried! Actually, people have been preserving bodies for many years, most famously ancient Egyptian mummies, but there are various religious relics across the world, and ongoing methods of ancestor worship in many cultures. Or currently one can go to the South Street Seaport in NY any day of the week to see “Bodies: The Exhibition,” in which real human bodies are on display, having been maintained by polymer preservation techniques. While exhibits such as these produce controversy surrounding the origin of the bodies on display, among many other ethical concerns, the general consensus seems to be that preserving bodies for medical or educational purposes is reasonable. What seems to be less tolerable is the idea that someone may want to hold onto the body of a loved one because they can’t seem to let go, or can’t grasp the concept of the finality of death. Mac’s human requests, however, usually consist of someone wanting to freeze-dry their loved one in a resting state before burial, so that he or she may never decompose or be eaten by maggots. Rarely does someone request that Mac position ‘Uncle Burt’ so that he’s eternally laid to rest in his favorite Barcalounger, smoking a pipe, eyes open and enjoying the television lineup with his still-living family (though there are occasional unexpected requests). Mac is open to the idea of human freeze-drying and he’d be able to do so in compliance with post-death body preparation laws, as he lives next door to a funeral director who would like to assist, but few opportunities arise, as the $150,000 price tag is a little too expensive for most. Plus not all bodies would even fit in his freeze-dryer.

    “Plus not all bodies would even fit in his freeze-dryer.” I think that’s as good an end note as any, folks. Check out the project if you haven’t yet (why haven’t you?) and spread the word in the name of humanity’s ongoing struggle with mortality and all the bizarre ways it rears its terrifying, metaphorically freeze-dried head!

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