The Year in Kickstarter: $100 million in pledges in 2011

Kickstarter had a huge year in 2011, more than tripling the amount of pledges it received to almost $100 million. That’s a fraction of what the VC industry has committed to companies but it’s an impressive showing for a three year old start-up that is creating a disruptive new crowd funding model for a growing number of artists, creators, performers and accessory makers. New York City-based Kickstarter just released some year end statistics and they show just how much momentum is behind the funding platform.
Across the board, Kickstarter has grown its operation since launching in 2009, with launched projects up 143 percent from 2010 and successful projects up about 203 percent. Perhaps more importantly, Kickstarter projects are seeing more success. The project success rate grew from 43 percent to 46 percent in 2011. As Kickstarter points out, more projects succeeded or hit their funding target than were launched in all of 2010.
Here’s a quick rundown with a 2010 comparison in parentheses:

  • Launched Projects: 27,086 (11,130)
  • Successful Projects: 11,836 (3,910)
  • Dollars Pledged: $99,344,382 ($27,638,318)
  • Rewards Selected: 1,150,461 (322,526)
  • Total Visitors: 30,590,342 (8,294,183)
  • Project Success Rate: 46% (43%)

Film was the biggest category with $32.4 million pledged and 3,284 successful projects. Music was second with $19.8 million pledged and 3,653 successful projects. Design projects brought in $9.2 million in pledges and had 319 successful projects. Design had the biggest growth in launched projects (235 in 2010 vs. 1,060 in 2011) while games led the way with the largest percentage increase in backers (up 730%). Dance had the highest success rate of 74 percent.
Kickstarter backers got comfortable supporting more projects in 2011. The biggest supporter pledged money for 724 projects in 2011, compared to 179 for the most prolific backer in 2010.
There are some other interesting stats available at Kickstarter, but the picture is clear. The service is becoming a critical tool for a growing number of artists and entrepreneurs, who are finding a lot of success in going directly to a community of interested supporters. I just wrote about the success Kickstarter has had in funding high quality films, which are getting noticed by the Academy Awards and the Sundance Film Festival. This model is showing that it has legs and that with the right pitch and good rewards, backers feel good about supporting projects that speak to them.