You can’t be hanging around in the world of crowdfunding for as long as Kickstarter without spotting a few trends here and there. Taking a leaf out of Y Combinator’s Request for Startups, the crowdfunding site is highlighting what it thinks are opportunities in the coming year. While Kickstarter’s goals are significantly more fuzzy than Y Combinator’s, it sends a clear signal to potential campaigns, hinting what Kickstarter will throw its not inconsiderable weight behind.
The crowdfunding site specifically identifies “Tools for Creating.” The category, Kickstarter says, includes both literal creation tools, such as Wazer, which was launched at TechCrunch Disrupt last year, and more a more liberal take on creation, such as Artiphon’s Instrument 1.The two other topics of focus are even less helpful, and include “Boundary Pushers” and “Delightful Design,” which, frankly, could mean anything. It’s not entirely clear what it is that Kickstarter is trying to achieve by posting the request for projects, especially without clear goals attached. One could argue that all crowdfunding campaigns should be pushing boundaries and be well-designed.
What is interesting, however, is that this appears to signal a shift away from some of Kickstarter’s other stated goals: For the past few years, the site seems to have been focusing on artistic and creative projects over technology-heavy projects. Taking its eyes off the ball means that the company’s arch-rival Indiegogo threatened to become the default go-to site for a lot of hardware and tech-related projects. It’s good to see Kickstarter get back into the race and actually start promoting its internal teams that are working with creators to build successful crowdfunded projects.
Personally, I’d love to see the criteria spelled out more explicitly (we are seeking X and Y, but not A and B), but I suppose any initiative has to start somewhere. Kickstarter’s initial volley might be a bit wooly, but if there’s one thing the company has consistently been getting right, it’s taking feedback and iterating quickly, so I’m excited to see where the Request for Projects might evolve.