Canadians with an idea for a new techy gadget, or maybe a script for an independent film they want to make, can now stay home and raise the money for their dreams on Kickstarter.
The New York-based crowdfunding network previously allowed Canadians to donate their loonies to projects based in the U.S., but until this week starting a crowdfunding campaign north of the border was off limits.
Canada is the second non-U.S. country to host Kickstarter projects, which arrived in the United Kingdom Oct. 31, 2012.
Famously, Canadian entrepreneur Eric Migicovsky relocated to Silicon Valley and raised $10.3-million from 68,929 backers on Kickstarter for his Pebble smartwatch invention. After several delays in getting prototypes it promised to his crowdfunding supporters, Mr. Migicovsky is now selling the Pebble in Best Buy stores.
The American firm may also still have a little to learn about Canada: It made the announcement on Monday, when much of the country was enjoying a three-day weekend (a holiday that is not observed in the U.S.A.).
You can begin building your Kickstarter now, but the first Canadian drives won't hit the site until Aug. 9. There are legal and aesthetic limits to what you can create and offer as rewards (you can't sell equity in your company, you can't offer booze, weapons or porn as rewards either), that you can review here.
Kickstarter claims $735-million has been raised to fund 46,000 projects through the donations of more than 4.6 million people. It makes its money by collecting a five per cent fee from the proceeds of projects that meet their goals. An idea that fails to attract the minimum support it asked for is cancelled, and the money returned to the backers.
One major difference to Canadian Kickstarters relates to the steep payment processing fees. Canadian donations will have separate fees tacked on the company's usual five per cent: pledges less than $10 have a five per cent surcharge, for pledges higher than $10 a three per cent surcharge applies. Effectively, successfully backed projects will give up no more than 10 per cent of their haul, but no less than eight per cent.
Kickstarter announced several workshops across Canada to familiarize entrepreneurs with the tips and tricks to running a successful campaign (pro-tip, don't promise rewards that are so time consuming or expensive that they will undermine the main project). The first set, in Toronto and Montreal on Aug. 8, 9, 12 and 13, are already sold out, but you can sign up for a wait list.
Among Kickstarter's quirks is the requirement that the project be creative (it has 13 categories of such creativity): Fundraising for charity or public works are not covered. For that kind of thing, there's always IndieGoGo.