Kickstarter launches in Ireland in a dramatically altered fundraising market
Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter opens to Irish projects today.
It is the latest - and largest - of a series of new entrants to the Irish fundraising market, which have dramatically changed small businesses' access to finance.
Crowdfunding has taken off around the world, drastically altering how capital gets deployed as projects, companies and individuals flock to the web for fundraising instead of tapping banks and big financial firms.
The biggest crowdfunding medium in the world, Kickstarter is targeted at creative projects - anything from product design to fashion to music. It allows groups and individuals to pitch their ideas and raise finance from a community of millions of people, in exchange for rewards like copies of the finished product.
Irish creatives can begin building their pitches online today and will be able to accept funding from next month. Money raised will be denominated in euros but investors are not limited to Ireland; funding can come from anywhere in the world.
"The Irish cultural scene has always been incredibly vibrant, and we can't wait to see what amazing, ingenious and unique ideas will now be part of the Kickstarter universe," said Kickstarter chief executive Yancey Strickler.
The platform is now accessible in ten countries - Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the US.
Since it launched in 2009, 7m people have pledged around €1bn to fund 69,000 creative projects. Some Irish creators have already collaborated with affiliates in countries where Kickstarter was already available.
Some competitors go beyond Kickstarter's rewards system, offering money. Irish-founded LinkedFinance facilitates crowd-funded, unsecured loans for Irish businesses. Its owners claim it undercuts banks' interest rates by 30pc.
Cafe chain Lolly and Cook has raised money using LinkedFinance, which is backed by Laughter Lounge founder Peter O'Mahony.