We post quite a few “crowdfunded” Kickstarter projects on this website, although I urge any reader to proceed with caution before funding the project. I do not personally vet any of these projects, or know whether they are a good idea to fund: they simply pique my interest and hopefully yours.
Normally when funding someone’s dream on Kickstarter, you get a good deal on the end product if it sees the light of day. You seed someone’s startup, and you usually save a bit of money on the product in exchange for the wait and personal risk.
However, there are exceptions to the “good deal” thing. Here’s an example of a “deal” on Kickstarter that I came across today (and will not post). You can pay $60 for a product that is already available on the company’s website, and wait several months for it to ship. Or go directly to their website and purchase the exact same item for $20 less and (in theory) receive it right away because it’s already available. Also offered is a few plastic bracelets for $40 (the cost of the product on their site), or for a whopping $25 you can have them put a photo of your dog on their site along with a virtual hug!
A steal. And not for you!
What’s the deal with Kickstarter
We’ve purchased several tech and household items from Kickstarter with success, but typically you have to wait a long time to receive the item. We stick with established companies for the most part (such as Rickshaw in San Francisco), as new companies sometimes don’t get the product out the door. And if you do not receive the product at all, you actually don’t have much of any recourse with Kickstarter or anyone else. You’re investing, and you can lose that investment if the company doesn’t figure out how to be a company.
What about Indiegogo
Indiegogo is another crowdfunding website that you can use to financially back new or growing companies, similar to Kickstarter but with one big difference in my experience.
The only “safety” with Kickstarter is that the project does need to be funded or you get your money back. With sites like Indiegogo, your money is taken no matter whether the project is fully funded. I discovered that by not reading the fine print, and seeing the project move forward even though it was a long, long way from being funded. A few years ago I funded a project that has changed names several times, but is thankfully still around and in contact with the funders. That said, the “price” of the item has since dropped (when they ran another fundraiser on Kickstarter), and even though it was supposed to be complete and shipped within half a year – I still wait for my product several years later, during which time numerous better and cheaper products have been released.
In other words, I wish I saved my money and purchased something after it was released.
- Don’t fund projects, and just wait until a product is ready (unless it’s an established company with available products, close to completion, and you save a lot).
- Head over to their website to learn more about the product(s), including whether it’s already available and much cheaper!
- Research and tread carefully!
But honestly: paying more for a product already available? That’s just crazy, and a bit backwards! So do make sure you research the company, product, and project before you consider taking the plunge and funding it.