Kickstarter, the US-based crowdfunding platform for start-up projects, is set to launch in the UK later this year, according to the company's Twitter feed.
Until now, only companies with a US bank account were able to set up Kickstarter fund-raising projects. The official move into the UK would mean that this is no longer a requirement.
“People in the UK will be able to launch projects on Kickstarter starting this autumn!” read the tweet from the official Kickstarter account. “More info soon!”
Kickstarter allows start-ups to crowdsource funding from friends, family and third-part investors for specific projects. Entrepreneurs can set up a web page with a deadline and a goal minimum of funds to raise. Money pledged by donors is collected using Amazon Payments.
Kickstarter has been used to fund – or at least attempt to fund – all manner of creative projects from interactive children's book apps, music videos, simple hacking devices and even self-replicating 3D printers.
Anyone can pledge to invest in the project, but if the chosen goal is not gathered by the deadline, no funds are collected. Kickstarter takes 5% of the funds raised and Amazon charges an additional 3–5%.
Since launching in 2009, Kickstarter has had more than $230 million pledged, and more than 23,000 successfully funded projects. Its most famous so far is the Pebbel watch, which attracted nearly 70,000 backers and over $10 million.
The news follows the launch last week of the Seedrs crowdfunding platform in the UK. Seedrs allows entrepreneurs to create a free listing for their start-up, stating how much money they are looking to raise in exchange for a percentage of equity.
Unlike Kickstarter, Seedrs continues to manage the equity on behalf of the investors, acting as a middleman to broker the relationship between the start-up and investor. The firm is authorised and regulated by the Financial Service Authorities (FSA).
The company takes 7.5% of all funds raised by start-ups, as well as 7.5% of any return that investors make beyond their initial level of funding.
The sudden emergence of crowdfunding platforms in the UK seems to be a response to the apparent shortage of specialised technology financiers. A recent think tank report on London's 'Tech City' cluster highlighted that many UK start-ups are being forced to go to the US for funding.