Kickstarter — Then and Now

With my campaign for Endogenesis one day away from launch, I find myself looking back at the last time I was preparing to run a Kickstarter. That was back in 2015 and I was part of a team then, and our project was a board game called The Award Winning Game. At that time, Kickstarter wasn’t available for creators from Singapore, the country I was based in.

In particular, I’m reminded of the huge difference of effort required just to even get my project approved, given that we needed a proxy based in a Kickstarter approved country.

This was what we did back then to get approval:

  • Six months before our launch date, we came across a now-defunct service called Bridgestarter, whose main selling point was to serve as a proxy by setting up a company in Canada. After many hours of questions, back and forth, poring through contracts, we decided to go with them.
  • Two months before the planned Kickstarter launch date however, Bridgestarter shuts down, leaving us to find an alternative on short notice.
  • We scoured the internet for info and guides by other project creators in non-approved countries. We also reached out to other Singaporeans who managed to run Kickstarters previously to seek advice.
  • Armed with the knowledge we gained, we asked around our family & friends to see who can serve as a proxy. Countless hours were spent on e-mail chains, phone & Skype conversations with somewhat distant relatives from Canada and Australia.
  • Because their biggest concern was regarding taxes, a lot of time was spent calling up tax authorities in their respective countries to find answers. Having to slowly and carefully explain what crowdfunding was to bewildered government staff multiple times (who were very thankfully patient) — and with a Singaporean accent that was difficult for them to understand — was taxing to say the least.
  • Finally, we managed to get a friend in Australia to help us. With one week till launch, we scrambled and managed to find a law student friend who gave us advice on how to draft an agreement.
  • Three days before launch, our Australian proxy sign the agreement and gave us the details that we needed for identity confirmation under the “Account” tab. We were finally able to hit the “Submit” button. The next day, Kickstarter greenlit us and we were good to go.

Cut to 2018, Kickstarter is now available in Singapore. This was what I did last week to get approval:

  • I enter my details under the “Account” tab, and then clicked on “Submit.” Less than five minutes later, Kickstarter greenlit me and I was good to go.

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m glad Kickstarter finally arrived here. And I hope that eventually, they’ll be adding more countries to their approved list until they’re practically global. Because regardless of the complaints one might have about Kickstarter, the fact is that the service and benefit they provide is incredible, because they’re making it that much easier for self-starters like us to realize our dreams.

So thank you, Kickstarter. I’m so excited to launch my project tomorrow, and even more so to create more projects in the coming years.

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