Have you heard of Kickstarter? It’s a funding platform for creative projects and the way it works is that creative types post their proposed projects on the site and people to whom the project appeals then commit to various levels of funding to get the project off the ground. There are more complex rules and checks and balances around it but that, in a nutshell, is how it works.
In the first half of 2011 I invested in a project called the Urbio Vertical Garden. Check out this link to their original Kickstarter page to understand more about the original idea. You’ll see that instead of their hoped-for $15,000 goal they raised a whopping $77,000. Down the side of the page you can also see the rewards that investors for each level of pledge.
I pledged at the second level and my reward was a small Urbio pot and wall mount. However, when manufacturing was delayed and as a reward for investors’ patience, they threw in another single pot. So now if I get sick of having them on my wall, I can make a cute vase like this.
I’ve had my pots for a while now but finally got them on our living room wall just before Christmas.
I love ’em! They’re magnetically attached to a plate that’s mounted to the wall so every now and then I just slip them off, give them a sprinkle of water, and pop them back on the wall.
Ideally, you’d have a whole wall, like this:
As the project progressed the scope expanded and went from vertical garden to vertical multi-tasker.
My handsome husband has been telling me over the last few months about the world’s tallest timber apartment building that’s been going up near his office. I’m fascinated by it and he sent me a snap of the facade today pointing out that they have Urbios on the walls of each apartment’s balcony.
These little pots have even made their way into eco-conscious and design-savvy projects all over the world. And I helped to kick start them.
The feeling of having been part of a larger project, playing a tiny part in bringing something great to fruition is wonderful.Not only that, these are projects that even if they weren’t placed in the current context of conservative institutional lending, might not otherwise have been made. Physical rewards aside, my investments have brought an enormous warm inner glow.
Another project I’ve invested in is the stop-motion short film, Cicada Princess. I got totally carried away by the director’s vision and pledged $100 to that one evening. Red wine may or may not have loosened my purse strings. And there’s a helpful piece of advice for all: don’t shop online or surf Kickstarter for cool projects after a couple of glasses of red. The creators will thank you but you might have a hard time explaining to your handsome husband that you just spent $100 smacker0os on an as yet unmade short film about bugs.
I’m awaiting the arrival of my DVD and handmade cicada (one who actually appeared in the movie) with great excitement. The creator of this project has clearly eaten, slept and breathed this film and so much work has gone into it. His hard work has paid off as it’s already been accepted into a couple of prestigious film festivals. And along the way, a lovely thing happened: Stephen Fry agreed to narrate it. I LOVE Mr Fry and he certainly adds some star cache, no?
With good projects, the creators keep you abreast of developments, delays, and thank you loudly and often. A similar site based in Australia but funding some great projects all over the world is Pozible.
These sites have their detractors and of course you should have a good old read so you’re making an informed decision if you do decide to invest. But I’m here to tell you there is no price that can be put on that warm inner glow.
Has anyone else backed any projects on crowd-sourcing sites? Do tell.
[All photos from Urbio.com, except those of my own wall, obviously].