AMITIAE - Sunday 17 February 2013
Kickstarter Project Micro-Financing with an iPhone App
By Graham K. Rogers
There is a FAQ on the Kickstarter pages that explains in full detail about the idea, but in brief it is a funding platform. It links small investors to projects in need of investment. Those interested can pledge cash to help the project reach a target amount; and it that target is reached, the project can go ahead.
I did this not so long ago for a new lens system called Mobi-Lens. A couple of developers had an idea for a system that would allow extra lenses to be used with many devices: not specifically for the iPhone as with olloclip. By using the link from the Mobi-Lens information page to Kickstarter, I was able to pledge a certain amount, although initially there was no charge to my credit card.
With the amount I pledged, this also gave me some of the first products made. Only when the target was met was the payment deducted. A few months later - pledging having been successful - a couple of the lenses arrived in my mailbox and I wrote about the system at the beginning of this month.
The app opens with a list of projects below a Sign up With Facebook panel. At the bottom are three buttons: K Discover (for the list of projects); Activity, for when a project is backed; and Log in. As this offers only a Facebook sign up I was reluctant to access this. I did try to login using another email address, but this was not apparently possible. Also on the opening screen any projects near the user's location are identified. There are none currently for Bangkok.
Backing a project is done through an online credit card transaction and I will not link in any way to Facebook for that. If I do find a project I am interested in, like the last time, I can complete a transaction using a browser on my computer.
Examples of projects listed include shops, restaurants (Maggie's Farm), books, games, movies, records as well as hardware like Hacker Glasses and Tesla Tronix (Tesla Power for the Masses), a project that is fully pledged, and more with over $14,000 with $2500 needed. There is also a project to back performance of Brecht's Threepenny Opera as well as other projects in the Arts field.
At the top is a button marked Staff Picks and this gives four links (Staff Picks, Popular, Starred and Search), with a list of 13 categories below. These include Art (319), Fashion (194), Photography (92) and Technology (130).
Staff Picks and Popular show a number of projects with video and other information. Starred projects becomes active when a user selects a project to follow, but if a suer wants to use this, a login using Facebook is required. Search finds any projects with a theme related to the search word. I tried "Dog" (simple enough I thought) and was surprised by a list of 10 projects.
While the Star Wars projects are unlikely to get off the ground (pun intended) a large number of the others listed have possibilities. Most of the information panels in the Technology section had video information to introduce the project, while all had a text outline along with other information concerning how different levels of pledges would work.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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