Although the internet has thrown traditional financing and distribution to the wind, it's also opened up a new system of fundraising for creative projects: crowdfunding. Instead of relying on industry executives to make or break your idea, crowdfunding helps you get funded by your most loyal followers: family, friends and social media users. There are plenty of different crowdfunding platforms that exist on the web today, but only a handful are designed specifically for creative projects. This list provides an overview of the crowdfunding sites relevant to creatives, and also lays out the fee structure for each one.
Kickstarter is arguably the biggest name in the business. It was launched in 2009, and since then, has funded everything from feature films to magazines. The only criteria for using Kickstarter are that you're funding a creative project that's independently created. Kickstarter uses an all-or-nothing fundraising platform, meaning you get to keep the money you've raised on the condition that you successfully meet your fundraising goal. If you don't reach your goal, the backers are never charged, and the creator is none-the-richer. Kickstarter charges a 5% fee of the funds collected, and an Amazon Payments gets an additional 3-5% for processing the payments.
Indiegogo differs from Kickstarter in several ways. First of all, Indiegogo offers a keep-what-you-earn fundraising structure in addition to the traditional all-or-nothing model. Second of all, Indiegogo allows you to fundraise for any type of initiative, be it creative, entrepreneurial, or non-profit related. The fees for Indiegogo are relative to the risks that you take. If you opt for the all-or-nothing, fixed funding model, Indiegogo charges 4% plus 3% for credit card processing. If you choose flexible funding and reach your goal, you'll be charged 4% plus 3% for credit card processing, and if you don't reach your goal, you'll be charged 9% plus the 3% processing fee.
RocketHub is a popular crowdfunding platform that offers yet another fundraising system to those offered by Kickstarter and Indiegogo. RocketHub's "All $ More" structure allows you to keep all the money you raise, but if you reach your fundraising goal, you'll receive reduced fees and added perks. RocketHub charges a 4% fee and 4% transaction fee for successful projects, and an 8% plus 4% fee for which goals weren't met. In addition, if you meet your fundraising goal you'll be able to enter 5 LaunchPad Opportunity competitions for free. These competitions provide free PR, publicity, and industry advice to the winners.
Appbackr is the first crowdfunding platform developed specifically for mobile applications. Appbackr allows developers to devote a set share of mobile apps to its platform, and then splits the profits between the backers and the developers. Backers receive a fixed amount of revenue for every wholesale app they purchase, and developers receive the backers money before pre-purchased apps have sold. This means developers can secure funding up-front to enhance or distribute their apps, and backers can rest assured that they'll receive a return on their investment.
Appbackr is to mobile apps as Gambitious is to games. The first crowdfunding platform devoted specifically to fit the gaming industry's needs. Gambitious uses an equity-based investment structure while ensuring that game studios retain 100% of creative control. The Gambitious community is built on professionalism. It requires game developers to submit a thorough application for review, and established backers will browse the games that make the cut. Although project contributions must be made in Euros, it's expected that the site will soon open up to investors worldwide.
All prices as of October 2012.