Kickstarter Matches Idea People with Micro-Capitalists

A Little Help From Your Friends

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Having an awesome idea and no cash to fund it is not a great place to be. 

Back in 2009, something truly revolutionary happened for all the idea men and women out there; something that would place creativity and passion above conventional business models. Something called Kickstarter. is an online funding platform for creative projects. In laymen’s terms, it allows people with ambitions bigger than their wallets to spread the word of their business venture to the masses, and lets the public decide if the concept is worth funding. Funders can offer up anything from $1 and beyond — some have even given thousands — to help meet the project’s goal.

But wait, there’s a catch.

Before any money can be received, the askers must set a financial goal, which must be met in its entirety within a certain period of time. Funding is all or nothing. So, if an aspiring boy band lays out a goal of $5,000 to cover the cost of their debut album, but only receives $1,000 by the time their deadline rolls around, all bets are off. The dough stays with its prospective funders and said boy band will simply have to save up to sing another day.

Don’t worry, the project founders aren’t the only ones taking something away from this surprisingly symbiotic relationship. In exchange for their financial support, backers are presented with levels of rewards to both entice and acknowledge their contribution. Potential rewards include a signed original print from an artist’s personal collection, a film credit, a handmade thank you card or a set of tickets to a band’s opening show. The more you give, the more you get.

Now, what can be funded on Kickstarter? Almost anything. Anything, so long as it has a certain je ne sais quoi and lands in the creative groove the folks at Kickstarter have etched out for themselves. Areas of interest for the site include art, comics, dance, design, fashion, film, food, games, music, photography, publishing, technology and theater.

Since its inception on April 28, 2009, more than five million people, funding more than 58,000 creative projects, have pledged more than a billion dollars. In return for its role as the middleman, Kickstarter receives 5 percent of every successful project. For those of you doing the math, that’s approximately $50 million.

Even people around the 850 are reaping the rewards of this “power-to-the-people” inspired website.

Here, meet some of our local Kickstarters.

Scott Holstein

Chocolate Maker Bob Williamson

SRSLY CHOCOLATE, Inc., Tallahassee

Bob Williamson found his niche as Tallahassee’s very first bean-to-bar chocolate maker. To put his dreams in motion, Williamson’s first course of action was getting involved in local farmers markets, including the Growers Market at Lake Ella. 

In just a few short months the demand for his tasty treats began to rise. Soon, Williamson had a difficult decision to make — either find the cash to take SRSLY Chocolate Inc. to the next level, or risk turning customers away.

For Williamson, the problem had a simple solution: Kickstarter.

“I didn’t really want to have a silent partner,” said Williamson. “I wanted to raise all the funds myself but just didn’t have them. Kickstarter was really the only way to go.”

Williamson, who initially asked for $5,000 from his Kickstarter supporters, ended up walking away just three weeks after the launch of his project with $6,336. The funds from his Kickstarter adventure not only helped to purchase SRSLY the appropriate tools to continue growing but also aided in the jump to retail space.

Today, Williamson’s concoctions are available across the region — including at New Leaf Market.