In light of economic challenges across the country and in my own community, I find myself drawn to news about ways to finance small business ideas and entrepreneurial ventures. In the latest edition of Technology Review, Kickstarter, a fascinating internet platform for financing startup projects, is highlighted as one of the 10 most important technological milestones reached in the past year. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website that allows the public to pledge funding for a variety of creative startup projects. If a particular hosted project reaches its target fundraising goal in pledges, the project is funded and the donors receive a variety of products and perks in return. A similar site is TechMoola.com, whose latest highlighted project is a low-cost cervical cancer test for women.
These funding platforms are captivating because they allow entrepreneurs to tap into a new market of supporters and engage them in new ways. While these opportunities for startups are indeed exciting, they are not without critics. Many have voiced concern that this concept of publicly financing projects will attract crooks and scam artists. There are also concerns about data breaches on these sites. Just last month, a data breach at Kickstarter.com exposed info on about 70,000 projects before they were ready for release. As these sites and many others attempt to navigate through both the risks and benefits of crowdfunding, we can only hope that the outcome is an explosion of new ideas, new technologies, and greater interaction between innovators and the public they look to serve.
Have you ever supported a crowdfunded project or tried to have a project funded in this way, through Kickstarter or any other venue? Share your story in the comments!