An interactive bicycle, a magnetic pen and the soon-to-be released Corner Gas movie are some of the hundreds of projects funded via Kickstarter during its first year in Canada.
Kickstarter, a crowdfunding venue for creative projects, is celebrating its first anniversary in Canada this week, boasting more than $24-million in funding for about 3,700 projects.
"This is a new source of funding and support for the arts, culture and innovation" in Canada, Kickstarter spokesperson Justin Kazmark said in providing the statistics.
"A community of hundreds of thousands of people from all over the globe has emerged to bring some of the most imaginative ideas to life from Canada's most creative minds. In just under a year they've directed tens of millions of dollars to creative projects that might not have otherwise had a chance to exist.
As of late Tuesday, Kickstarter says there were a total of 303,675 pledges totalling $24.4-million. The money helped to launch 3,650 projects, including more than 400 live projects.
The most funded project in Canada to date is the Vanhawks Valour, a connected bike that tracks performance and safety as you ride, including Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone for directions. The Toronto-based engineers who invented the bike set out to raise $100,000, but received more than $820,000 from 802 backers.
A close second was the Polar magnetic pen. Andrew Gardner, the Waterloo-based inventor of the multipurpose writing tool, set out to raise $14,000, but instead received about $817,000 from 14,253 backers.
Castle Story, a computer strategy game designed by Sauropod studio in Montreal, received the most backers at just over 27,060, who collectively pledged $702,516.
"Diverse funding sources are great for creativity and culture – the greater the diversity of funding sources, the greater likelihood that creators will create," said Mr. Kazmark Another popular project was Corner Gas. The Movie, which set out to raise $100,000, but instead received almost triple that amount – or $285,840 from 2,526 backers. People who pledged during the 30-day campaign received everything from their name in the credits for $25, T-shirts for $50 and one-backer paid more than $8,000 for a private screening of the film, which is expected to be released later this year.
"The best part about this campaign is that we already know we're going to make the movie," states the Corner Gas Kickstarter page. "The campaign will help us enhance the movie, but first and foremost, it allows us to give all of our wonderful fans a once-in-a lifetime chance to be a part of the process, and get some awesome, exclusive rewards."
Toronto had the greatest number of projects in the past year, at 850, which is more than twice that of second-place Vancouver, with just over 400. Montreal was a close third with 358 projects funded, followed by Calgary at 175 and Ottawa at 147.
Ontario also saw more than twice the number of projects funded, or more than 1,500, ahead of B.C. at about 680, Quebec at 526 and Alberta at 355.
Kickstarter was launched in the U.S. in 2009. Since then, it says about seven million people have pledged more than $1.3-billion (U.S.) to fund more than 69,000 creative projects.
Some of the more famous examples include the Veronica Mars Movie Project, which raised $5.7-million from 91,000 backers in 2013 and the Pebble smart watch, which raised more than $10-million from nearly 69,000 backers in 2012.