Kickstarter: Sharing Economy in Motion
“Sharing” is a keyword often cited by the “digital generation” growing up with social networks. It has become a word that represents much more than clicking a button that will make the post you read appear on your Facebook wall. In the
“Sharing” is a keyword often cited by the “digital generation” growing up with social networks. It has become a word that represents much more than clicking a button that will make the post you read appear on your Facebook wall. In the new era, sharing is a real social value.
The digital tools available to us today are based on a technology that allows access to opportunities which didn’t exist until now. The sharing culture and the feeling that “everybody’s friends with everybody else” have created an eco system where people are able to trust complete strangers. This social change affects all aspects of our life, including the structure of business life and the world economy. Sharing is now at the heart of the technological and economic growth.
The sharing economy, currently estimated at tens of billions of dollars, allows shared access to various products and services. But the “how” is just as important as the “what”: It includes various online platforms that facilitate distribution, sharing and reuse of almost everything, from real estate to cars to fund raising. But beyond the fact that the sharing economy enables us to save money and resources, one of the key drivers of this culture is the ability of each individual to influence and lead. Why should they? To create a reality of sustainability and thereby improve their quality of life.
A striking example regarding the sharing economy is the method of crowd funding. The mass recruitment website, Kickstarter, is a marker of this emerging global phenomenon. It is the largest funding platform in the world, which enables entrepreneurs to leverage initiatives by mediating between their ideas and the general public. The stated mission of the company, which was established in 2009, is to enable creative projects to take shape. Since its inception, it managed to raise over a billion dollars from 5.7 million donors for 135,000 innovative projects in music, comics, newspapers, video games and numerous projects related to the world of food. All projects presented on Kickstarter offer tangible rewards and special user experiences in return for funding received from the public.
his platform has the potential to raise money from various people all over the world, without a need for connections and dependency on capitalists, financial institutions, or VC funds that were required in the past
The platform is open and accessible to investors everywhere. How does this model work? Very simple: each project posted online needs to indicate a deadline and a minimum funding sum. If the goal is reached – entrepreneurs rejoice and make merry. If the goal is not achieved within the set timeframe - the accrued amount is not collected. Consider, for example, a Ghanaian entrepreneur who has an innovative product idea that could improve people's lives, an artist who wants to make music, or even a politician who wants to rally supporters and funds for his activity. Thanks to Kickstarter, each one of them can find a supportive community made up of individuals who are willing to invest their money in the venture, product or promoted agenda.
This platform has the potential to raise money from various people all over the world, without a need for connections and dependency on capitalists, financial institutions, or VC funds that were required in the past. The crowds decide what to invest their money on. In fact, crowd funding makes old business models redundant, and mostly strengthens innovation and entrepreneurship.
How effective is this tool? Only recently, a new Israeli startup, SCIO, posted its project on Kickstarter. This start-up developed a molecular scanner that provides information about the composition of materials of various stationary items: food, objects and more. Such product has tremendous potential to affect the world of food, given its ability to analyze the nutritional composition of products, their sweetness level and so on. The public expressed support in this venture and invested good money in it.
The new digital world allows us to make big changes in numerous areas, using innovative tools that make information accessible, and enable sharing anything, anywhere. We live in a world where sharing economy is inevitable, and those who want to lead and to really understand the new consumer must internalize the fact that this is a new age where everyone has access to information, desire and ability to influence, and, more importantly - to become a partner.
First published in the Brands Index of Globes