Kickstarter has officially launched in Canada today, opening up its crowdfunding platform to help Canadians fund creative projects. This is big news for Canadians, who have funded over $28 million dollars to projects on Kickstarter since its launch in 2009. This is almost a dollar per Canadian citizen.
Kickstarter and crowdfunding have become synonymous despite the fact that there are many other players in this space, like Canada’s current favorite, Indiegogo. The numbers for this platform speak to why that is. To date, Kickstarter has had over 48,000 backers pledge more than $778 million dollars. The platform sees on average over 3,500 projects live at any given time and has been raising one million dollars a day for the past year and a half. Kickstarter also has a pretty significant track record with 44% of project successfully raising their project goal.
Canada is not new to Kickstarter. Eric Migicovsky of Pebble, the highest funded project on Kickstarter raising over $10 million dollars for its smartwatch, is a Canadian entrepreneur. The RAA 7” (Rural Alberta Advantage) project was one of the first on Kickstarter back in 2009. And according to founder Yancey Strickler, six movies playing at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this week are funded through the platform. But up until this time, Canadians who wanted to use Kickstarter to fund their projects had to go through a major workaround by creating an American company or partnering with a US citizen.
With the official launch of Kickstarter in Canada, Canucks will no longer have to hide.
Yesterday, cofounder Yancey Strickler held a Kickstarter School at the iconic The Royal Theatre on College Street in downtown Toronto, to officially mark the launch in Canada. The size of the crowd waiting to get in rivalled those the city has been seeing for TIFF, which is happening at the same time in the city. If the attendance of this event, which nearly filled the 450-seat theatre, is any indication of the number of Kickstarter projects we should expect to see from Canada, then we’re definitely in for a treat.
“My Name is Yancey and I’m one of the founders of Kickstarter,” Strickler said as he took the stage. The theatre filled with applause and whistles. “Tomorrow will be the first time Canadians will be able to launch projects on Kickstarter. We have been waiting for this for years and perhaps you have too”.
It has indeed been a year-long journey for Kickstarter who was readying their own payment system to make their platform available to project creators North of the border. Strickler explained that back in 2009 when they launched, Amazon was the only payment system that would consider to work with them due to their new way to transact money. “Kickstarter would not exist if it were not for Amazon,” Strickler told the crowd. Unfortunately it was Amazon’s US-only support which was causing Kickstarter difficulty in expanding to other countries like Canada. This left them no choice but to create their own payment system to use in non-US areas.
The payment system for Kickstarter Canada will be the same as the one enabled in the UK which launched in October of last year. Backers of Canadian projects will be asked for their credit card information and billing address rather than requiring them to sign-in to Amazon to use this account to pay. Canadian projects will not be marked differently on Kickstarter outside of indicating the city and country the project is from and confirming pledge and goal amounts are in Canadian dollars. To run a project legally in Canada you must set your verify your identity as a permanent resident of Canada and register your Canadian bank account. Like in the US, Kickstarter will take five percent of all successfully funded projects. Project creators should also prepare for credit card charges anywhere from three to five percent along with tax deductions.
Strickler couldn’t comment on the number of Canadian projects we should expect for launch but did reference the UK, which saw 70 projects in the first week and suggested that we should expect the same. Since launch, UK projects have raised over $14 million with 700-800 successfully funded projects. Strickler confirmed that Kickstarter will continue its expansion with Australia and New Zealand next followed by non-English speaking countries.
If you are a Canuck with a great idea and need some funding, what are you waiting for? Head on over to Kickstarter to make it happen.