Kickstarter offers new ways to fund ideas

(photo source: Tim Lee) The Contras band members left to right: Tim Lee, Tyler Harris, Connor Dela-Cruz, Justin Skinner
(Source: Tim Lee)
The Contras band members (left to right) Tim Lee, Tyler Harris, Connor Dela-Cruz and Justin Skinner hope to raise $1,000 through Kickstarter.

In a new wave of ideas, businesses and projects are being funded through websites like Kickstarter allows the public to view projects and businesses that need help with funding in order to get them off the ground through pledges to donate.

Since launched in 2009, over $1 billion has been pledged by more than 5.9 million people, which has gone to fund 59,262 projects.

The Contras, a band in Roy, Utah, started their own Kickstarter project hoping to raise $1,000 for studio time.

We’ve been playing lots of shows and writing more music, and we want to record a full-length album, but since we want to take our time with it, it’s gonna cost a lot more than the EP did,” said Tim Lee, The Contras frontman and Weber State University student. “And that’s where the Kickstarter comes in.”

Lee got the idea from watching a documentary.

It sounded like a good idea to us. Basically, people look at your project and watch your video, and from there they can decide if they want to back the project. There’s a list of rewards for backing the project on the right side of the page, and it’s a different reward depending on how much the person donates.”

The project leaders set the reward for the amount of money the backer pays.

Tricia Cook and Matt Goff attempted to fund a documentary for an international service-learning humanitarian project in Mozambique. The rewards for funding their project included souvenirs from Mozambique, a copy of the finished documentary, and for the backers who contributed a large amount to the project to be listed in the credits of the documentary.

The project did not get its funding, but Cook said she still believes it’s a good idea for others.

“Although it didn’t end up working for us in the end, I know it has proven successful for many other projects.” reports that 10 percent of its projects do not receive a single donation.

“My only advice would be to be all in,” Goff said. “You can’t do it only half in. Really get the project out there. Post regular updates.”

Alex Lawrence, director of WSU’s entrepreneurship program, suggested to those thinking about starting their own project, “Take the entrepreneurship minor program at WSU. It is all about taking ideas and testing them to see if they can become a business or if they should move on to the next thing. It is open to all students. The ideas that have the most customer interest get up to $25,000 in cash funding as well. So it’s a great program for students with ideas.”
For those learning on their own, Lawrence said the best thing is to test the demand and interest of the “bare-bones version” of the idea with the general public as often and as soon as possible.
“Most people with ideas build their idea out first and try to sell it next. Customers need to be involved early and often so you can build a business that they want to pay for.”
Those interested can help fund The Contras project on here.