The popular crowd-funding site Kickstarter, which has already disrupted the American tech and entertainment industry many times over, has officially launched in the UK.
So far, the British version already has 200 projects launched. Since it launched in the U.S., the platform has given rise to 75,000 projects and raised more than $343 million from successful campaigns.
“The request to expand internationally has long been one of our most requested features,” Kickstarter’s head of community and co-founder Yancey Strickler told the BBC on Wednesday.
Stickler added that Kickstarter plans to bring the service to other countries more quickly than its first international launch took, but the speed of these expansions will be judged by the UK launch.
The UK version of Kickstarter works almost identically to the U.S. version, the main difference being that contributions are listed in pounds. The 5 percent fee for successful projects is the same, but payments will be processed by Kickstarter itself rather than through Amazon’s online service (Nasdaq: AMZN).
Kickstarter announced the UK launch three weeks ago on the company’s blog. At the time, the startup said it would be updating its shipment system to make it easier for project creators to request more money from international backers to cover the higher feeds of international shipping costs.
The larger question Kickstarter faces, however, is how its success in the U.S. will transfer over to Britain -- a country that already houses several similar crowdfunding services like IndieGoGo and Pleasefund.us that have failed to stir the same level of interest or participation as Kickstarter has achieved.
"I think the key thing is that backers need to be confident that the projects they're backing will raise enough money to complete the project they're envisaging," Ben Holmes, a partner at London-based venture capital firm Index Ventures, told the BBC. "What people are getting from Kickstarter is not equity. They're getting early access, or signed T-shirts and so on. The investors in Kickstarter projects are doing it largely altruistically; it's not really a financial investment for them."
Still, other entrepreneurs admitted that Kickstarter may be able to boast a certain “cool factor” that its less successful brethren in the UK have been unable to offer to the crowdsourcing movement so far.
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