Kickstarter’s on fire.
Notable funding successes include Diaspora, C-Loop and TikTok+LunaTik, the swank watch bands for the new iPod Nano that caused a stir in the blogosphere late last year. Some Kickstarter-funded films even made it to Sundance and two took home honors.
The innovative service leverages the web and social media to help artists and inventors get their projects financed. The funding sources? You and me. Add the ability to pledge small amounts and strong social hooks, and Kickstarter emerges as one of the finest examples of how community-driven platforms can create and sustain new business models.
Where’s the green?
Given the momentum the environmental movement has witnessed in the past few years and the explosion of the social web, the timing seems perfect for Kickstarter and green visionaries to succeed together. But while exploring projects, I noticed that among Kickstarter’s poster children, few are of the eco-focused variety. Fewer still have resulted in bringing great eco-friendly gadgets to market. What’s the deal?
For instance, SolarVox failed to reach its funding goal of $35,000. A pity since it looked like a great solution for people that want to charge their handsets but don’t want to leave them baking in the sun. A nook that shields your smartphone? Genius! (Keep at it Eric.)
It’s not to say that all green projects are doomed. Vere Sandal Company, which plans to use recycled materials and source domestically, managed to more than triple its $12,000 goal with plenty of time to spare. But again, Vere’s pretty much the exception.
Should green techies and environmentalists avoid Kickstarter? No.
The service simply gained traction with the creative/techie crowd first. Fortunately, there’s plenty of room for green projects to prosper as Kickstarter’s profile grows. While it may be hard to replicate TikTok’s geek lust-worthiness, a novel energy- and/or earth-saving idea stands a great chance of getting funded if it’s wrapped in a compelling message and promoted relentlessly — using social media, preferably.
Sometimes, a good, solid story does the trick. I just pledged $25 to help Sarah Ginsburg and Sarah Berkovich’s inspiring documentary, “10,000 Trees” get made. It’s the story of 84-year-old Victor Kaufmann and how, with his 10,000th (and final) seedling, a barren plot of land in Lyle, Wash. has been brought back to its natural roots — no pun intended. With 23 days to go, the project is well over halfway funded.
So, before you write off Kickstarter for your green project, give it a shot. More importantly, learn from its successes; hone your idea and message; update as frequently as possible; and most critically, get the word out using social media. If I’m any indication, there are plenty of environmentally-minded folks on Kickstarter. Why not let them know what you’re up to?
Update: View the 10,000 Trees video below. Lend your support if you like it.
Update 2: Click here for the answer to our titular question!
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