Kickstarter to rev up UK crowd-funding scene

The best-known crowd-funding platform will officially open its doors in the UK later this year, joining local platforms such as the newly-launched Seedrs

The US crowd-funding platform Kickstarter is to formally open its doors to UK start-ups later this year, it announced on Monday via Twitter.

Although it is already possible for those in the UK to set up Kickstarter fundraising projects, they have to have a US bank account to do so. The official move into the UK will mean start-ups no longer have to do this, if they want to use Kickstarter rather than local alternatives.

Kickstarter lets individuals and start-up companies solicit funding from the general public for projects ranging from the technological to the cultural. If a pre-set target is not reached, no one who has pledged money to the project has to pay.

The announcement of Kickstarter's impending UK arrival came just days after a similar platform, Seedrs, said it was now open to investors and entrepreneurs. As its name suggests, Seedrs is focused on helping start-ups raise very early-stage investment in exchange for equity.

Seedrs said in May that it had taken a year to get authorisation from the Financial Services Authority (FSA), and that it was the only crowd-funding platform in the world to have gained this kind of approval from a major financial regulator.

In the US, where crowd-funding has been going on for some time, it was only this year that a change in the law let such projects offer equity in exchange for funding, rather than being limited to providing T-shirts and other paraphernalia as rewards.