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In this April 27, 2012 photo, Pebble Technology founder Eric Migicovsky poses for a portrait wearing the Pebble watch, in New York. In April, three-person startup Pebble Technology sought to raise $100,000 to make the programmable wristwatch. Donors on Kickstarter showered them with more than a hundred times that amount: $10.3 million. Kickstarter is at the center of crowdfunding, in which donors contribute small portions of money to get a project off the ground. (Mary Altaffer/AP)
In this April 27, 2012 photo, Pebble Technology founder Eric Migicovsky poses for a portrait wearing the Pebble watch, in New York. In April, three-person startup Pebble Technology sought to raise $100,000 to make the programmable wristwatch. Donors on Kickstarter showered them with more than a hundred times that amount: $10.3 million. Kickstarter is at the center of crowdfunding, in which donors contribute small portions of money to get a project off the ground. (Mary Altaffer/AP)

SMALL BUSINESS BRIEFING

Crowdfunding site Kickstarter toughens its rules Add to ...

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Aim is to help keep ‘creators’ from over-promising and under-delivering

Crowdfunding site Kickstarter – where more than 30,000 projects have raised about $312-million, according to its stats – has announced new rules to help keep “creators,” or the entrepreneurially minded trying to fund ventures, from over-promising and under-delivering.

Those are concerns that have been raised, as this New York Times piece and this Fast Company piece address.

Among the new rules, according to Kickstarter's blog: Creators must now talk about “risks and challenges” of projects they’re asking to be funded “to reinforce that creators’ projects are in development.” That way, it says, people can better judge both an ability to complete a project as promised and whether those behind the project are being sufficiently open about the risks and challenges they face.

It also toughened guidelines for new hardware and product design, noting that product simulations are banned, as are offering multiple quantities of a reward.

Here’s an Entrepreneur.com take on the new rules.

Kickstarter’s profile soared as some companies started raising more – way more – than they set out to on the site. Among the most notable: Vancouver native Eric Migicovsky, chief executive officer of Pebble Technology Corp., wanted to raise $100,0000 to fund production of a watch with customizable e-ink displays that link to smart phones. The figure kept climbing and climbing. He ended up with $10.3-million – which might have kept rising had he not put an early stop to his fundraising effort.

“It's hard to know how many people feel like they're shopping at a store when they're backing projects on Kickstarter, but we want to make sure that it's no one,” said Kickstarter’s blog. “Today we're introducing a number of changes to reinforce that Kickstarter isn’t a store.”

Clients matter, but so do cash flow and financing: poll

While startups and more veteran businesses alike say that attracting and retaining customers is a top priority, they part ways on what comes next – and newer businesses could learn a lesson from their more experienced brethren, a new CIBC pol suggests.

The poll of about 800 businesses found that the top three obstacles listed by those in business for two to five years were attracting and retaining customers, at 52 per cent, followed by economic uncertainty, for 40 per cent, and strong competition, for 36 per cent.

Meanwhile, 58 per cent of businesses in operation for six to 10 years also listed getting and keeping customers as the top obstacle, but that was followed by fluctuations in cash flow, for 42 per cent, and having adequate access to capital or financing, for 40 per cent, the poll found.

It suggested that newer businesses “may be too focused on issues outside of their control, such as the economy,” and said they might take a page from the more established firms who recognize managing cash flow and getting financing – both more within their control – are key to making it through the early years.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Startup Canada launches mentorship challenge

Startup Canada has launched a challenge to encourage the mentorship of more than 10,000 “enterprising Canadians” during Global Entrepreneurship Week, which takes place Nov. 12 to Nov. 18.

“We’ve heard from entrepreneurs of all ages, startup stages and business sectors from coast to coast – mentorship is an essential ingredient for building a more collaborative and sustainable entrepreneurial nation,” Startup Canada co-founder Victoria Lennox told TechVibes.

Small Business Summit

There’s less than a week to until the next Small Business Summit, presented by The Globe and Mail’s Report on Small Business. The one-day event, dedicated to helping entrepreneurs take their businesses to the next level, takes place in Vancouver on Oct. 4. For registration and more information, click here.

Business incubator conference

The Canadian Association of Business Incubation’s 21st annual conference starts Sunday in Saskatoon and runs until Oct. 2. The event includes speakers, workshops, incubator tours and networking opportunities, as well as awards presentations. For more information, click here.

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

One firm’s telecom trash can be another’s treasure

REfficient Inc., an online marketplace that helps companies save money and be environmentally responsible by buying and selling previously owned assets, gained early traction but then faced a challenge in how to attract clients among its target market: companies with five to 50 employees and the value-added resellers that service them. Read how the company did it in this case study.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

How does a new business price its first product?

That was the question facing Krista LaRiviere, co-founder and chief executive officer of gShift Labs Inc. when she launched the company’s first product. Read back this case study, published in April, on how she balanced several considerations to come up with an entry price.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.comJoin The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzTOur free weekly newsletter is now available. Every Friday a team of editors selects the top picks from our blog posts, features, multimedia and columnists, and delivers them to your inbox. If you have registered for The Globe’s website, you cansign up here . Click on the Small Business Briefing checkbox and hit ’save changes.’ If you need to register for the site,click here .

 

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