Feature Friday: Kickstarter Goes International

Lost in the crazy week that we are having in NYC is that fact that Kickstarter went international this past week. On Wednesday, Kickstarter announced that projects in the UK were now live on the site.

Folks from around the world have always been able to back Kickstarter projects, but until this week project creators had to be US residents. This is largely a payments issue, but there were a few other factors at work.

The good news is now that Kickstarter has gotten a payment system of its own live in the UK, it can more quickly roll out project creation status to other parts of the world. Payments is not something that you can do globally all at once. It is something you have to roll out country by country.

Here are a bunch of open projects from London. Maybe you'll find one to back. I backed this one because I'm a fan of time travel fiction.


Comments (Archived):

  1. John Best

    This is extremely exciting. Not least because the timing coincides beautifully with Startup Weekend Manchester. I’ll be pitching at least one idea.

    1. Rohan

      ALL ze very best, John. May the force………

      1. John Best

        Thanks, buddy!

    2. jason wright

      an avc exclusive preview?

      1. John Best

        If it gets picked and built, sure! Its email-based – the single technology I see the most gripes about.

  2. awaldstein

    This is a really big deal.The gestalt of Kickstarter is global behavior and my bet is that this will explode across Europe.Gets me that payments are still the gotcha for so many projects even here in the states.They are just a pain even at the simplest level. Just built a Shopify store for a personal project and the restrictions on design and check out variations because of the payment gateways were really a stranglehold. I’m pretty savvy and they still mystified and annoyed me.

    1. jason wright

      Much of Europe is more fiscally conservative and socially cohesive than the UK. When it works in Germany I’ll be convinced the world has turned.

      1. awaldstein


        1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

          What happened … your comment disappeared after staying for few minutes?Disqus issue OR you removed/re-typing it?

          1. awaldstein

            I removed. Thought better of starting that thread now and getting distracted.

      2. ShanaC

        Actually, I think berlin + kickstarter would be sort of awesome 🙂

  3. Rohan

    The payment system is really pathetic.For example, holding a singapore bank account, I can’t access Kindle on the app store.And, I can’t access many many popular books on Audible.com thanks to publisher rights blah blah. The result? I have a friend’s US card as my secondary card. When I search for books, I switch to make his card primary, get books and switch back so I am charged for the submission.Don’t even get me started about TV, music etc..Building on that very optimistic and positive rant, congrats Kickstarter! Good on you.

    1. Aaron Klein

      At some point this will die. It’s better for consumers and companies for there to be one big global market.

      1. Max Yoder

        I see this getting worse before it gets better. Nothing pleases me more than being wrong, though, especially when being right sucks.

        1. Aaron Klein

          How can it get worse?

          1. Max Yoder

            As long as the titans of yesteryear have a vested interest in keeping their content locked down, it will get worse.

          2. kidmercury

            media platforms like amazon, netflix, rhapsody, and youtube are investing in their own content, which will give them the rights they need.

      2. Rohan

        I am beginning to love this standard Aaron answer to all my rants..Annoying aircraft safety announcements? They will be antiquated soon..Bad payments system? This will die..We are moving to a better world, after all.. 😀

        1. Aaron Klein

          I’d like to think so! 😉

    2. ShanaC

      wtf. that is crazy making.

  4. takingpitches

    I love that everything is interspersed with each other despite geography.Among places that borders are irrelevant, it’s certainly art.And traditional big media is global, so it’s great that Kickstarter is too. I like how Perry sees his mission in that respect:”Yeah, any dent we can put into the machine we’re happy to do. I think we’re already seeing it. A lot of these things that are getting funded would not have been funded in any way. People are watching films that were made on Kickstarter and playing games that were made on Kickstarter. I think the big media companies are going to continue to have things that they’re going to keep making for the mass audiences, but we hope we’re eating away at the bad stuff.Bad stuff gets made in the system. You get sequels. You get safe things. You get people with new ideas that don’t get funded. You get constrained funding so that one out of every thousand people can get a shot. You have systems that are based on who you know. That’s what we want to break apart. Good ideas can bubble up without these gatekeepers saying yes.”

    1. fredwilson

      The globally comingled marketplace. Etsy works that way too. I prefer this model when it is possible

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        ‘commingled’… learnt a new word today. Thanx Fred.

      2. takingpitches

        More commingling is good. Motto of this AVC community, USV, and the Internet more generally.

  5. William Mougayar

    Congrats on the UK opening. Canadian projects have been available for a while. There are no payment or regulatory issues between the US & Canada 🙂 But I think the biggest kick from “international” will be when Kickstarter becomes available in less developed countries and starts to benefit local programs & projects by exposing them to the wealthier sides of the global.  That will be the biggest game-changer that is yet to be realized. I think Kickstarter is going to become a very big and important company as they free up the flow of wealth to where the most impact can be made. 

    1. Max Yoder

      You took the words right out of my mouth with that second paragraph.Less-developed countries will be a tough nut to crack, but the benefits, I hope, will be more than worth it.

      1. Aaron Klein

        A simple plug-and-play way to operate globally is a huge opportunity for a startup to tackle.Imagine a simple API that can convert pricing to local currency, process the payment in local currency, and transfer the funds back into “home” currency instantly to reduce risk, all for a 4-5% fee (compared to 2-3% for domestic payments).

        1. Joel Nicoletti

          like thecurrencycloud.com ?

          1. Aaron Klein

            That’s pretty cool. 15 countries so far.

    2. ShanaC

      I think kickstarter would be way better than microfinance outreach in these areas. The debt load is huge, and creates way too small businesses.

    3. Kent Corbell

      Lived in Indonesia where most of the population uses cash. The exception is mobile – where their system is way advanced over US. Anybody can buy sell and trade mobile credit by texting each other. Kickstarter international in places like that will have to be mobile and micro.

  6. Roger Ellman

    Kickstarter is most welcome in the UK. Hope that within the next 5 years we will look back on payments in different countries as being mere addressing issues…in other words, a non-issue.Kickstarter may do more for the UK than it seems. The culture of the UK is more risk averse than the USA and it is likely the availability of an easy means to invest in new ventures will help flex this stiff muscle and loosen it up.

    1. fredwilson

      My view of the UK is of an incredibly creative and artistic place

      1. jason wright

        you mean London?

        1. fredwilson

          No. I mean the UK

          1. jason wright

            you’ve ventured outside the M25?

          2. fredwilson

            yes. i’ve been to sheffield, leeds, and other parts of the industrialized north

          3. jason wright

            but you’re only 50

          4. ShanaC

            sheffield has a great arts community.

          5. jason wright

            The People’s Republic of South Yorkshire. Long live the revolution!

      2. Roger Ellman

        That it is. Investors are not always so sparkling, of course they should only be so selectively!

      3. RichardF

        tru dat

        1. Rohan

          I don’t think he included that rugby obsessed bit in the west, Richard.Lol.

          1. RichardF

            lol…..possibly not Rohan and I don’t see Fred as a Dr Who fan either but culture in Wales is really quite big.

          2. Rohan

            Hehe. I was 100% joking. Happy Friday!Heading to Old Trafford for the big United Arsenal game tomorrow.,, Don’t miss. 😉

          3. RichardF

            have a great time.

        2. Donna Brewington White

          Trying to imagine you saying this with a British accent. Soundcloud?

          1. RichardF

            probably best left to the imagination Donna……

  7. William Mougayar

    Fred- what do you mean “Kickstarter goes International”? They ARE already International. 1. Anyone with a credit card can contribute to a Kickstarter project even if they don’t originate from international countries (which is the only missing part)  2. Do a search on another Country name & you will find listings for projects related to that country. Here are 2 examples: http://www.kickstarter.com/…http://www.kickstarter.com/…Any Internet business is Born International instantly whether they plan it or not. 

    1. ShanaC

      Good point

    2. daryn

      Really William? It’s a pretty huge difference between talking about a country, and being a consumer from a country versus being a producer. (and, the phrase is clarified in the next sentence).What I find more interesting, which was just a passing detail in Fred’s post, is that Kickstarter used its own payments platform for this instead of building on top of Amazon FPS again. That’s a big deal.Congrats to everyone at Kickstarter!

      1. Abdallah Al-Hakim

        I agree about the producer consumer versus producer differentiaton and the payment change (it definitely is a big deal in my opinion).

      2. William Mougayar

        You’re right about the producer/consumer parts. I was being half-facetious about it. But exposing consumers from around the world to Kickstarter increases their potential of becoming producers themselves, so that’s all part of the internationalization process which is underway.

  8. whitneymcn

    It’s a tangent, but you’ve read Jack Finney’s Time and Again, right? Flat out classic NYC book with an interesting take on time travel.

    1. fredwilson

      Nope. #addtokindle

  9. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Awaiting the moment for kick-starter landing in …. faaaar east ….Btw,found this project kinda freaky, funny and interesting …Ostrich Pillow :-)http://www.kickstarter.com/…

  10. Drew Meyers

    At Startup Weekend Amsterdam in June – someone worked on a “Kickstarter for Europe”. Don’t think it ever saw the light of day. Seems there is certainly a demand for a kickstarter system abroad – so cool to see them execute on this.

  11. Abdallah Al-Hakim

    The payments issue is an important point to resolve when you go to different markets. For example, the Arabic speaking digital world is still struggling to find the best online payment system that works for them but there are few startups trying. Also, I read this week about an Egyptian version of Kickstarter that has launched with a focus on Egypt http://yomken.com/?lang=en – I anticipate that these kind of local crowd funding startups will have an advantage over kickstarter in their respective markets

  12. Tom Labus

    Note from NJ:We are alive and somewhat kicking today.Power restored but no phone, TV or Net as yet. No gas either.Lots trees down all over.

    1. ShanaC

      I’m thankful to hear that you are ok. take as much time as you need to recoup.

  13. Donna Brewington White

    OT: I like so much better the new way of showing the parent comment on Disqus.

    1. fredwilson

      I missed that. Gonna look for it next time i am on the web

    2. ShanaC

      me too. really elegant

  14. bernardlunn

    Any idea what to use if not in USA or UK? I think it is IndieGoGo but that does not seem to be accepted by NaNoWriMo. It’s kind of nuts, I don’t want sponsorship but I have to put in a sponsorship url to complete NaNoWriMo. I thought the nice well informed crowd at Fred’s Bar might know what to do.

    1. prefundingcrowdsunite

      Not sure what NaNoWriMo is but if are looking to raise money on a reward-based crowdfunding platform there are many options. http://www.indiegogo.com, http://www.rockethub.com, http://www.crowdfunder.com work pretty much everywhere. There is also a french side http://www.reservoirfunds.com . If you are looking to raise money through debt, donation, or equity there are many more options.We at http://crowdsunite.com/ started categorizing all of these platforms so its easy to search and compare them.

  15. dainik bhasker

    I think Kickstarter is going to become a very big and important company as they free up the flow of wealth to where the most impact can be made. Kickstarter international in places like that will have to be mobile and micro.