The popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter will open up to Canadian projects starting this summer.
The New York City-based company, which has funded high-profile projects such as the Pebble smartwatch, the Ouya gaming console and the Veronica Mars movie, made the announcement on its Twitter account Thursday morning. It is inviting Canadians interested in funding their projects on Kickstarter to sign up for updates about the Canadian launch.
Crowdfunding allows projects ranging from films to unique consumer products to gather small amounts of money from a large number of people in exchange for a "reward" such as a copy of the final product. For example, the Veronica Mars movie collected $5,702,153 from 91,585 "backers," who contributed an average of $62.26 each in exchange for rewards such as a copy of the shooting script or a "Veronica Mars – The Movie" T-shirt.
While Canadian projects previously had access to other crowdfunding platforms, such as San Francisco-based Indiegogo and Vancouver-based Fundrazr, Kickstarter is by far the largest and most popular, generating a much larger volume of web traffic, according to the Crowdfunding Press Center blog. Consequently, it potentially provides access to a larger community of funders and therefore more money.
Kickstarter accepts funders from all over the world, but initially allowed only projects from U.S. creators. It expanded to allow U.K. projects last October.
"It has always been a priority for us to open up to creators internationally," said Kickstarter spokesman Justin Kazmark in a phone interview Thursday.
Payment-processing issue resolved
However, the company was limited by the requirements of the companies the process the payments involved.
It has now found a payments processor for Canadian-based projects.
Kickstarter says that since it launched in 2009, it has successfully raised $581 million for 43,979 projects. Another 55,947 campaigns launched on the site have been unsuccessful, and under Kickstarter's funding model, funds collected for projects that don't meet their fundraising target are returned to the funders.
Kickstarter gets five per cent of the funds collected by successful projects, and the companies that process the payments take another three per cent.
A number of projects involving Canadians have already run successful campaigns on Kickstarter via a U.S. connection. But the rules have, until now, made Canadians' use of Kickstarter complicated.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the spokesman for Kickstarter. In fact, he is Justin Kazmark.Jun 28, 2013 8:22 AM ET