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Tech

Toronto's still waiting to get "Kickstarted"

Posted by Derek Flack / January 7, 2011

Kickstarter Toronto InternationalKickstarter is a US-based website that aims to help creative types secure funding for their projects. Launched in spring of 2009, it's become quite the success story, with some of the most popular proposals garnering hundreds of thousands of dollars (an idea to turn an iPod Nano into a watch went particularly bananas).

For those that haven't checked it out before, the website combines the concept of what might be called "crowdfunding" with social media strategies via a platform through which people can pitch their projects to the community at large. The one noteworthy stipulation is that a project must receive all of the money initially requested or the whole thing falls through.

Why the all or nothing approach? Kickstarter offers three logical explanations for this proviso: 1) it keeps expectations in line (it's tough to produce a $5000 project on a $2000 budget), 2) it allows people to gauge the interest in an idea with the risk of having to follow through on it with scant funding, and 3) it motivates the creator to spread the word about their project.

So it makes sense. In fact the website is a pretty remarkable resource for those with plenty of ideas but not a whole lot of cash. But there's one massive catch for those of us who don't live in the US. Because Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments -- and not PayPal!?! -- the service is restricted to "people or entities with a US bank account, US address, and a US drivers license (or state-issued ID)."

Well, that sucks. Although Kickstarter promises that it "will allow international project creators in the future," that's yet to happen (and we've been waiting a long time). But, interestingly, a search of Toronto-based projects does reveal some activity. There are currently 13 "project creators" on Kickstarter who cite this city as their home base, 10 of which successfully received funding and three of which are languishing without much interest.

Some of the projects that met their funding targets include: film shorts, documentary projects, EPs, a web-television series, a fire art project (not a typo) and a 7" vinyl project that the Rural Alberta Advantage undertook last August.

So clearly those with contacts in the US (or who've simply spent enough time there to have a bank account and driver's licence) have found a way to make Kickstarter work despite its current lack of geographic range. There are, of course, tax risks involved with enlisting a friend or contact south of the border, but apparently there are some very accommodating people out there.

Despite the fact that there are a few Toronto-based projects on the website, usage here unsurprisingly pales in comparison to US cities (New York, for instance currently has 950 on the go). Because it seems that Kickstarter is dragging its heels on going international, I'm not holding my breath that Torontonians will be able to start easily using this service anytime soon. And that's very disappointing, because I am, after all, full of project ideas.

Discussion

16 Comments

Greg / January 7, 2011 at 03:48 pm
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That's a great website idea. I for one would also love to see it reach Canadian soil.
365 / January 7, 2011 at 04:06 pm
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I'm a Canadian citizen and was DEFINITELY able to pitch in on the Diemonds CD fund
Erica / January 7, 2011 at 04:22 pm
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A friend forwarded me this post - great article. You guys can all use IndieGoGo.com to get your ideas funded - its an international platform and we have tons of great success stories from Canada.
Scott / January 7, 2011 at 04:40 pm
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Why not use RocketHub.com? It has the same functionality and has funded numerous Canadian project.
Derek replying to a comment from 365 / January 7, 2011 at 05:46 pm
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Yup, you can pledge money, but you can't pitch ideas and then receive money.
Moe Berrigan / January 7, 2011 at 05:52 pm
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What are the differences between RocketHub and IndieGoGo? Does anyone know?
Justin Phass / January 8, 2011 at 11:07 am
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Derek,

Great article. I am the director of new media for the Canadian side of Rockethub, and we are willing, ready, and able to help out creatives from across Canada. As a matter of fact, we already have several successful projects coming out of Canada. I welcome any of your readers to contact me for more information on how Rockethub can help them get their creative projects off the ground.

I myself have just recently ran a successful short film project through Rockethub that will be filming in Montreal in the near future. I am available to any creatives in Canada who want to talk getting their project off the ground, even if it's something as simple as a consultation. Thanks again for the great article, I look forward to getting more Canadian projects launched in the coming new year.

Sincerely,
Justin Phass
Director of New Media
Justin@rockethub.com
Justin / January 8, 2011 at 11:08 am
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Derek,

Great article. I am the director of new media for the Canadian side of Rockethub, and we are willing, ready, and able to help out creatives from across Canada. As a matter of fact, we already have several successful projects coming out of Canada. I welcome any of your readers to contact me for more information on how Rockethub can help them get their creative projects off the ground.

I myself have just recently ran a successful short film project through Rockethub that will be filming in Montreal in the near future. I am available to any creatives in Canada who want to talk getting their project off the ground, even if it's something as simple as a consultation. Thanks again for the great article, I look forward to getting more Canadian projects launched in the coming new year.

Sincerely,
Justin Phass
Director of New Media
Justin@rockethub.com
Victoria / January 8, 2011 at 11:50 pm
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Hi Derek
Great article! I agree with you - it would be awesome if kickstarter allowed Canadians to post our projects using our Canadian bank accounts. I gather the issue with paypal is the % they want to keep, whereas Amazon is more affordable. Not sure on the #'s though.

In any case, we launched our kickstarter campaign this week and yes, we have a friend in the USA with a bank account for us to use. He's our Executive Producer for the film so...it's all legit & we shouldn't see any issues with taxes since it just means it's a Canadian-American co-production. It was really easy. You can check out our campaign here:

http://kck.st/dZszQD

And of course, we'd love your readers' pledges. ;-)

Victoria

PS) Indiegogo is cool too, but what I prefer with kickstarter is that people "go big or go home" - whereas the projects on indiegogo seem to go for smaller amounts. Just my two cents on that one...
David Geertz / January 19, 2011 at 10:48 am
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SoKap is also available now and just underway for artists to crowdfund their projects. We are a Canadian company based in Vancouver.

Come over and have a look.

Good luck with your records!

David
David Geertz / January 19, 2011 at 10:51 am
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Here's the link to SoKap by the way....

http://sokap.com

David
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