Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Kickstarter Fesses Up: The Crowdsourced Funding Start-Up Has Funding, Too

Kickstarter has all the requisite characteristics for a hot startup: an ah-ha! concept, a growing user base, and great buzz.

The one thing it doesn’t have are stories about investors clamoring to throw money its way. And the three-year-old company has never disclosed a funding round. Is it possible it has never taken in any money?

Nope. It’s not. I hear that Kickstarter, which helps artists and entrepreneurs raise money for their projects via crowd-sourced donation, has itself raised around $10 million in venture backing so far.

Its investors are high-profile, too: Union Square Ventures is the company’s best-known backer, but Kickstarter has also received money from the Betaworks incubator/seed investment fund, along with contributions from well-known entrepreneuer/angels like Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, Vimeo co-founder Zach Klein and Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake.

Kickstarter’s public profile has been shooting up, up, up–most recently, as the company that helped fund watches made out of Apple’s iPod nanos — and its backers are a bit of an open secret in tech circles. But for whatever reason the company hasn’t wanted its investors chatting about it.

Union Square, for instance, doesn’t include the company in its public portfolio. [UPDATE: Now they do. "Recently the company has been getting a lot of attention and it has become clear to all of us that the quiet period is over," USV partner Fred Wilson writes in a blog post this morning. "So now we get to add the Kickstarter logo to our investments page and we can talk about the company publicly as much as we talk about it privately.]

That quiet period is over now, though, courtesy of a profile in the new issue of Wired magazine. The story is primarily about the company’s origins and ambitions, but casually mentions Union Square’s backing, and identifies Fake, Klein, Dorsey, Meetup founder Scott Heiferman and comedian David Cross (!) as other investors.

I asked CEO Perry Chen for more details about the company’s funding, but didn’t expect much. And via a pr agency, I ended up with a list of other angels, but nothing else. Here it is, for the record: Josh Stylman; Peter Hershberg; Joi Ito; Chris Sacca; Joshua Schacter; Matt Haughey; Josh & Jared Kushner; Chris Kaskie; “some other friends.”

The Wired issue with the Kickstarter profile is just landing in subscribers’ mailboxes now, and should be on newsstands and iPads next week. If you’re waiting for a free peek, though, you’ll have to be patient–the magazine usually waits a bit before it puts a new issue up on the Web. Meantime, here’s a look at the cover, via the magazine’s Twitter account:

[Kickstarter image credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid]


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