Investing is a risky business. The innovator risks failing to raise enough money and ending up sitting on a half-funded dream, and the investor risks sinking his or her money into a prospect that never had a chance to get off the ground.
But things are changing in the investment world. Today, that risk is history. Investments, like so many other forms of power, are coming to the masses. And Kickstarter is bringing it to them.
The whole basis of Kickstarter’s business model is that initially, no one is whipping out their checkbook at all—funds are pledged. And amounts are completely palatable. It’s never been more affordable to invest in a great idea; investors pledge any amount they’re comfortable with. Twenty bucks here, fifty bucks there, and hundreds if not thousands of individuals involved, and suddenly you’re looking at some serious startup capital for your project. And if your goal isn’t met by the project’s deadline, the pledges are cancelled and no one owes anyone a thing.
Best yet, you can encourage your investors to support your vision by providing great incentives in the form of thank-you gifts—typically some form of personal recognition or a sample of the finished product. For example, your pledge of $60 effectively gets you a preorder of Rolling Freight, APE Gamer’s railway-and-shipping-routes board-game brainchild. For $40, you’ll receive a discount on your order for Coffee Joulies, stainless steel “beans” that promise to cool your scalding coffee to comfort-level and magically maintain it at the perfect drinking temperature for hours. (Somehow my Thermos never seems to last long enough to need any heat maintenance…) Even an investment as low as $1 will help local art show HomeSpun get off the ground—and investors get their names on a donor list displayed at the opening show.
Personally, I’m heading over to the Ai Weiwei documentary to become a first-time investor. Who knew making a difference could be so easy.