Kickstarter As Silicon Valley For The Masses?

It’s not an idle question, according to TechCrunch, which reports that some industry watchers cheering the eventual displacement of traditional financing mechanisms, at least for tech, may be misguided.

In fact, said the outlet, Kickstarter and other sites have been finding traction and helping to fund projects still in nascent stages that escape the traditional purview of venture capital. That roster includes creative endeavors across music and film, while tech, at least in the U.S., is only about 3.7 percent of all projects. And, as TechCrunch reported, San Francisco projects are only 7 percent of the more than 3,270 or so tech initiatives listed across Kickstarter. So, in the end, neither tech nor, regionally, SF/Silicon Valley hold much sway on the site.

In the tech sphere that is represented on Kickstarter, hardware dominates, with 24 percent of projects, in contrast to TechCrunch’s citing of PitchBook data, which shows hardware as the focus only 3 percent of startups backed by venture capital in the California region. And in terms of tech product focus, there’s also a mismatch, as the site noted, with a “smart water bottle” and 3D audio headphones high on the list, whereas, in Silicon Valley, the companies swinging for the venture capital fences and garnering the most attention are, perhaps not surprisingly, Airbnb and Uber.

So, in the end, while Kickstarter does indeed help foster and fund innovation, it may not be Silicon Valley for the masses — or, at least, not exactly.


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