Popular crowd-funding site Kickstarter has started inviting cash-hungry British projects to submit their pitches for its UK site, which will go live at the end of October.
The company is opening up to UK-based projects for the first time, New York-based Kickstarter said in a blog post on Wednesday. Submissions can be made via the 'Start a new project' page on the existing US-focused site, and UK users will be able to launch their projects on 31 October.
Kickstarter allows people to pledge or donate money to projects they like the look of — mainly technology innovations, such as an Arduino-based game adapter, or creative efforts, such as films.
"The mechanics of Kickstarter (all-or-nothing funding, rewards, etc) are identical for US and UK projects," the Kickstarter team said in the blog post. "When pledging, however, backers of UK projects will enter their payment information directly on Kickstarter rather than through Amazon Payments."
Since Kickstarter launched in April 2009, over $350m has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people, funding more than 30,000 creative projects, according to the firm. Other crowd-funding sites have followed in its wake, including IndieGoGo and GoFundMe.
Kickstarting an interest in start-ups
"Because Kickstarter enjoys such a high profile from their huge success in the USA, their arrival will help to raise the profile of the attraction of investing in start-up projects and businesses," said Jeff Lynn, CEO of UK investment platform Seedrs, in a statement.
"Kickstarter's arrival will help to raise the profile of the attraction of investing in start-up projects and businesses" — Jeff Lynn, Seedrs
However, Lynn was quick to point out that Seedrs is regulated by the Financial Services Authority, and as such can call for investment, rather than donations and pledges, and can offer investors a share in the business they are funding.
As it stands, only businesses under FSA regulation can do this — which has led to the lack of enthusiasm in the UK for funding start-ups, according to Andy Moseby, corporate partner at technology and digital media law firm Kemp Little.
"The main reason for this is that such investments fall under the ambit of restrictive financial services regulation," Moseby said in a statement. "Now that the technology is available to allow individuals to participate in crowd-funding online, it may be time to consider a relaxation of the law, similar to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (or JOBS Act) proposed in the US."