20+ Kickstarter Stats To Start You Up
Updated · Mar 06, 2023
Crowdfunding has gained an enormous traction in recent years. Whether it’s for a creative art project, major breakthroughs or new inventions, the method provides the needed traction to jump start your dreams and make them a reality.
Among the most popular platforms for this purpose is Kickstarter, with millions of backers and hundreds of thousands of funded projects.
That’s why today you’ll enjoy a collection of the most interesting Kickstarter stats—that way you’ll learn more about crowdfunding in general and its importance as well as dive deep into the platform’s history and most memorable moments.
Whether you’d like to obtain a crowdfunding financing source, learn more about Kickstarter, or simply catch up with one or two interesting Kickstarter statistics, this article has it all. So let’s start:
Essential Kickstarter Statistics (Editor’s Choice):
- Kickstarter backers gathered more than $6 billion in total.
- The crowdfunding company has around 21 million backers.
- 220,000 (around 40%) Kickstarter projects reached their financing goals.
- 31% of Kickstarter projects are in the movie category. However, the music category has the most successful projects—upwards of 33,000.
- Pebble Time, a smartwatch device, raised more than $20 million.
- 75% fundraisers back other people’s projects.
- Exploding Kittens, a card game for cat lovers, is the most backed Kickstarter project with almost 220,000 backers.
- Brandon Sanderson’s “Four Secret Novels” became the highest funded project, with more than $40 million reached.
- The most successful video game on Kickstarter is Frosthaven, having received $13 million.
- Around $114 billion were crowdfunded in 2021 on a global level.
You already know what Kickstarter is, and how can you not—it’s one of the most popular and successful platforms for crowdfunding that backs so many projects and dreams on the regular.
Let’s dive deeper into its history and foundation:
1. Kickstarter was founded in 2009 by Yancey Strickler, Perry Chen, and Charles Adler.
(Source: Tech Crunch; Charles Adler Website)
Chen himself is an artist and entrepreneur who understands well the struggles most artists face—that’s why Kickstarter’s principal goal is to fund “creative projects,” with a significant amount of money going to making movies, books, video games, music, technology, etc.
Yancey Strickler is also a creative professional. As an author, he was, too, able to empathize with modern writers and teamed up with Chen and Adler to make life easier for them. Charles Adler is the “visuals guy” of the bunch—he is the one into visual arts and commercial design as well as who is responsible for the interface design.
2. Kickstarter gathered more than $6 billion since its inception.
As of March 2022, that amount is $6.49 billion to be exact. Although Kickstarter generates significant profits, they are counted in millions, since this is not a typical-for-profit company.
So what percentage does Kickstarter take from the gathered funds? The company has a policy of taking a 5% fixed fee as well as a “payment processing” fee that varies mostly from 3% to 5%.
Definitely not an insignificant proportion of the initial investment. The good thing, though, is that if the campaign is unsuccessful in obtaining the needed funds and reaching its goals, there are no charges and they won’t end up in debt to the platform.
3. Kickstarter has a total of 20.9 million backers.
Kickstarter annual report shows that there are in total 80 million pledges made from the early days of the company. Moreover, seven of these almost 21 million backers are repeat ones, that is, those who consistently donate money to creative people and projects from around the world.
4. Kickstarter has launched 553,000 projects.
Well, not all of them have turned out to be successful but that’s still quite an impressive number—more than half a million projects for less than 15 years of existence. Let’s see how many of them have managed to make their dreams come true…
5. The crowdfunding platform has successfully funded 218,000 projects.
More than 200,000 people! Okay, but how many Kickstarters projects fail?
Well, if we do the math, we’d get 332,000 unsuccessful projects, which means the Kickstarter success rate is close to 40%. Not bad, considering that close to one in every two projects manages to succeed. What are some more interesting Kickstarter stats about projects’ successes and failures?
- 56,000 of the 332,000 unsuccessful projects received 0% of their desired sum. They were probably regarded as unrealistic or far-fetched, so backers were wary about funding them. Projects that were automatically rejected by Kickstarter also go in this category.
- 216,000 campaigns received up to 21% of the desired funds, while 34,000 were funded up to 40%, 14,000—up to 60%, 6,000—up to 80%, and almost 5,000—between 81% and 99%.
Now that you know what is the failure rate on Kickstarter, would you care to learn what percentage of startups fail? Or, you know, something more positive—how about we see which are the projects that succeed?
- 28,000 of the 218,000 successfully funded projects raised $1,000, 115,000 managed to get between $1,000 and $10,000, 31,000—between $10,000 and 20,000. Further 31,000 raised between $20,000 and $100,000, 9,000 Kickstarter campaigns received between $100,000 and $1 million, and only 629 were able to gather more than $1 million.
We can see that the dream of building an empire solely on Kickstarter funding is sadly just a dream. There is a very small number of projects that are able to generate astronomical amounts of money, most of the successful Kickstarter projects only gather between $1,000 and $20,000.
Now that we know what the success rate of Kickstarter is, let’s move on to some of the most important demographic stats as we dive deeper into the platform’s provided opportunities and highlights:
6. 85% of fundraisers are white.
(Source: Lauren Dahlin)
According to a peer-reviewed scientific study of Kickstarter fundraisers, most of them are white, 9% are Asian, and 5%—Black. This study has surveyed more than 26,000 fundraisers, and it’s one of the rare ones, which examined the demographics of Kickstarter objectively and in detail.
What you’ll mostly find online are unbacked estimations, so we’re sort of privileged to be able to find objective estimates.
7. 63% of Kickstarter fundraisers are females.
(Source: Lauren Dahlin; Oxford Academic)
Kickstarter creator demographics gathered by experts from the University of Maryland have been able to bust one of the main myths about Kickstarter that you can find online. Namely, numerous blogs repeat the same old “estimate” of around 70% of male fundraisers, without citing any sources.
The European Finance Association issued an article where it was stated that around a third of individual-entrepreneur projects are led by women. Perhaps someone took this stat out of context and people simply started repeating it.
The same article, however, went on to state that women entrepreneurs constitute a majority in the dance, fashion, and food categories (55% to 77%). Men are overrepresented in the games, comics, design, movie, and technology industries (76% to 92%).
8. Women constitute 45% of all backers.
(Source: Lauren Dahlin; Oxford Academic)
Kickstarter backer demographics essentially point to gender equality when it comes to angel investment or venture capital stats. In these industries, women constitute 20% and 6% of investors, respectively.
Moreover, backers are the most interested in comics, product design, games, and technologies, with up to 86% contributors funding projects from these categories.
9. 3% of Kickstarter entrepreneurs have projects in multiple categories.
(Source: Lauren Dahlin)
More specifically, most people have projects that fall within one category (such as film or technology). However, some people (a bit over 3%) have projects that are more complex and are encompassing two or even more Kickstarter categories.
10. 31% of all Kickstarter projects fall within the film category.
(Source: Lauren Dahlin)
Kickstarter statistics clearly show what’s the dominating category. Film is followed by: Publishing (11%), Music (9%), Design (8.6%), Food (6%), Games (5.9%), Technology (5.6%), etc. Journalism (0.9%) and Photography (0.6%) are the least popular categories on the platform. Film tops the list as it can pay off in a big way. Moreover, Publishing is also perhaps performing even better than expected, possibly because one of Kickstarter’s founders is really into literature.
Kickstarter Success Statistics
In this section, we’ll talk about some of the most successful examples of Kickstarter projects.
Пay attention, maybe you recognize some projects:
11. Pebble Time (2015) raised more than $20 million on the platform.
(Source: Statista; Business Insider; The Verge)
Pebble Time is a smartwatch developed by the Pebble company. It became so popular as it allows users to track their health/fitness data, links to both Android and iOS devices as well as it’s a pretty sophisticated device to tell time.
Here’s a list of some of the other most successful Kickstarters:
- Coolest Cooler (2014)—$13.29 million
- Frosthaven (2020)—$12.9 million
- Pebble 2 (2016) - $12.7 million
- Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 (2017)—$12.39 million
- Travel Tripod by Peak Design (2019)—$12 million
- Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special (2019)—$11.39 million
- Pebble: e-paper watch for android and iPhone (2012)—$10.2 million
- The World’s Best Travel Jacket (2015)—$9.19 million
- The Wyrmwood Modular Gaming Table: Coffee & Dining Models (n.d.)—$8.8 million
Not all of these projects are necessarily successful in the usual sense.
Pebble technology was ultimately sold to Fitbit, an American tech company. That’s a much better outcome than what happened to, say, Coolest Cooler. It was advertised as a “portable party,” containing a cooler, blender, bluetooth speaker, storage for utensils, all in one. All was perfect until shipping was delayed time and time again. In the end, some people didn’t even receive the product because the company quickly went out of business, citing tariffs as the reason.
To be fair, Chinese imports really saw increasing tariffs, making it much more expensive to produce and assemble the product, much more than the company’s CEO, Ryan Grepper, initially expected.
12. 75% of fundraisers back other projects.
(Source: Lauren Dahlin)
That means the majority of people who receive money on Kickstarters for their projects also back other people’s dreams and campaigns. Interestingly, Kickstarter stats also indicate that most backers support those of the same race and gender as them on the platform.
13. Shenmue 3 is the most-funded Kickstarter video game with 69,320 backers.
Shenmue 3’s followed by Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night (64,867 backers) and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes (46,307 backers). All three were made by Japanese video game devs, with Shenmue 3 the work of Yu Suzuki who can rightfully be called “the godfather of modern gaming.” Suzuki worked in Sega for 18 years and his game is in fact a sequel to the previous two parts developed by the mega company.
Koji Igarashi, who directed the Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, is also a game programming veteran, having worked for Konami on games such as Castlevania. Actually, Bloodstained is quite similar to Castlevania in certain respects. Finally, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, was too, developed by Rabbit & Bear Studios, a small studio consisting of veteran Japanese programmers.
14. Frosthaven is the most successful board game on Kickstarter in terms of money—it received $13 million.
While the three video games from the previous stats have the most backers and are the most popular in that respect, there are others that have managed to receive far more money.
So which are the gaming projects that have received the most money on Kickstarter?
Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 tops the list with $12.3 million.
It’s followed by:
- The Wyrmwood Modular Table: Coffee and Dining Models ($8.8 million)
- Exploding Kittens ($8.8 million)
- OUYA: A New Kind of Video Game Console ($8.6 million)
- Nemesis: Lockdown ($7.1 million)
- The 7th Continent: What Goes Up Must Come Down ($7 million), T
- Witcher: Old World ($6.8 million)
- Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon ($6.8 million)
- The Binding of Isaac Four Souls Requiem ($6.7 million).
The difference is that all kinds of games are included here—video, consoles, board, etc. Perhaps among the most important Kickstarter facts is that it helped immensely with the development of board games such as The Witcher: Old World, signaling to its importance even beyond the project and its goals.
Additionally, some of these games have received not only some of the largest amounts of funds but are enjoying huge popularity. Interestingly, Exploding Kittens might be third when it comes to money received, but it’s the most popular and backed game project on Kickstarter ever—with 219,382 backers up until now.
Having explained how Kickstarter works and just how effective it is for entrepreneurs, we’ll now turn to some basic Kickstarter trends and demographics.
15. Eight countries account for 85% of all Kickstarter funding.
These eight countries are the US, the UK, France, Australia, Germany, Canada, Sweden, and Japan. However, keep in mind that these Kickstarter countries' stats are almost 10 years old, so there could be a slight change. By 2014, US-based backers accounted for $663 million worth of funding, which far surpasses the next biggest contributor—the United Kingdom—and its $54 million of funds.
16. The median funding for successful projects is $3,800.
Using the median (central number, which separates the sample by half) is better than considering Kickstarter average funding. As we’ve seen, there’s a small number of projects (less than 700) that receive millions. In turn, these projects “skew” the average and might give an incorrect impression of the amount of money most people receive. The median is far more accurate in that regard—it shows that most people receive somewhere around $4,000 or less.
17. The music category has the largest number of successful projects (33,000).
Kickstarter investment may turn out to be the most successful for the music projects. Considering music is only the third biggest category on Kickstarter, behind Film and Publishing, we can conclude that funding music projects on the platform indeed has the most chances of success.
18. Brandon Sanderson’s Four Secret Novels became the most successful Kickstarter project ever, amassing its goal with more than 4,000% at the time of writing.
So what is the most successful Kickstarter? Up until recently, Oculus Rift was the most successful project, receiving more than $2 million by almost 10,000 backers. It was initially a crowdfunding project for VR Headset that was later sold to Facebook for $2 billion. Backers received nothing, everyone was outraged and the CEO accused of selling out.
However, that changed just as we were writing this article. Brandon Sanderson and his “Four Secret Novels” project pulled a major surprise and became the most successful Kickstarter project ever.
Why the surprise? Well, Sanderson listed $1 million as the desired goal of the campaign and managed to surpass it by 4,000% (as of now)! The project reached $41,754,153 in funds by 185,341 backers!
19. Encik Farhan is one of Kickstarter’s biggest scammers.
Farhan wasn’t a project manager, he was a backer! So how come he managed to scam people? When one backs a project on Kickstarter, they receive certain awards according to their donations. Farhan realized he could donate money, receive the reward, and then quickly cancel the payment. He managed to do it over 100 times before the company stepped in and updated its payment processing system.
As far as fraud and scams, in general, are concerned, there are certain ones that stand out the most. Take, for example, the board game The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, which generated around $120,000. It’s unclear whether the creators really wanted to scam people or if they were simply unable to provide the product they promised. In any case, the goal was met, transactions were made, and creators walked away with $120,000 in their pockets.
Another “stellar” example was the case of Kobe Beef, famous for the biggest scam on Kickstarter that fortunately never happened. What went down was that a man named Kobe Red decided to launch Kobe Beef jerky, a type of smoked meat. He was able to raise $120,000, much more so than was initially desired. Fortunately for backers, it was revealed that Kobe Red had made a paravan company for his “project” and that he probably didn’t plan on actually launching the product. Kickstarter suspended his campaign and returned the money to backers.
Kickstarter isn’t the only crowdfunding platform in the world—companies like GoFundMe or Indiegogo are also very popular and are competing with Kickstarter for donations:
20. In 2020, the crowdfunding industry’s market size was around $12 billion.
This clearly shows that crowdfunding is a business like any other, not just fun and games. Moreover, it’s estimated that the industry will reach $25 billion by 2027.
21. In the same year, $114 billion were raised by crowdfunders from all over the world.
Still, crowdfunding is a sort of donation, so it manages to gather a huge amount of money. We can see the profits are far outweighed by the “expenses” so to say, as it received funds almost 10 times, amassing its market size in just a year.
22. GoFundMe has 50 million donors.
When it comes to the Kickstarter vs GoFundMe competition, it’s clear that the latter has more donors. However, the companies, while in the same industry, are somewhat different—Kickstarter is all about creative projects, whereas GoFundMe is less specific and often includes charity-like initiatives and donations. Moreover, the latter charges much less—there are no platform fees, only transaction ones (2.2%), which makes it far more fitting for personal crowdfunding campaigns and charities. Until this moment, it has managed to raise over $5 billion for such causes!
23. Indiegogo raised $1.5 billion by 2017.
(Source: Fast Company)
Indiegogo is much similar to Kickstarter, as it also focuses on creative ideas and projects, although it also allows for charity donations. So when it comes to Kickstarter vs Indiegogo, we can see much more similarities indeed—the latter also has a 5% fee plus 3% transaction processing charges.
24. Dragonfly Futurefön is one of the biggest crowdfunding scams—$6 million were lost in total.
(Source: The Verge; The Matador Messenger; The Verge; Justice.gov; Law 360)
So can you get rich off Kickstarter? Well, it seems like the platform is better able to handle suspicious projects than its alternatives. Indiegogo allowed for one of the biggest and most intricate scams to unravel, ultimately costing $6 million to donors. What happened?
It was called Dragonfly Futurefön—a futuristic wonder phone that promised to replace your computer, laptop, and mobile. Pretty nice when you think about it but extremely unrealistic. Then again, innovations such as Oculus Rift succeeded, so why wouldn’t a wonder-gadget Dragonfly Futurefön?
Well, because it was a scam right from the start. The company’s “CEO,” Jeffrey Batio, was portrayed as a sort of tech visionary, akin to Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, or Steve Jobs. The intricate scheme started way back in 2003. In around 10 years, Batio gathered $5 million for his wonder-gadget. In 2014, Indiegogo and Kickstarter campaigns were launched, quickly gathering $700,000. The product was meant to be priced at $799, which naturally attracted a lot of attention. But the company never posted pictures of real products or prototypes, only virtual renders (one of the reasons Kickstarter long ago banned product renderings). In 2019, Jeffrey Batio was found guilty of six counts of mail fraud and six counts of wire fraud, potentially facing 20 years in prison for each of the counts. Eventually, in 2021, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
So if you just want to collect a lot of money and live off of it, that’s probably not a good idea as you’ll be facing legal repercussions. Let Batio’s story be a lesson to you.
25. “No More Woof” is the funniest crowdfunding fail ever.
You’ve definitely wished to be able to have a conversation with your dog, at least at some point, right? Well, the Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery (NSID) was having the same thought! Having gathered $22,000, the company promised to deliver a gadget to be put on your dog’s head, which by transmitting the EEG brain waves, would “translate” their thoughts into human language!
Awesome but sadly, highly unrealistic—the development seems to have halted, backers were angry because they rarely heard from NSID and everyone expected to receive a prototype, which of course, didn’t happen. Important to note that backers perceive crowdfunding more as a sort of a pre-order than a donation. For $22,000, the NSID could have hardly made a good prototype.
That was all for today, folks—some of the most important and fascinating Kickstarter stats at your disposal!
We’ve learned how the platform affects and shapes the global market of creative ideas, we’ve gotten to know just how popular it is.
It’s mainly used to gather smaller amounts of money, though there’s a handful of projects that manage to receive millions of dollars in funding.
The company’s success is an indicator of a wider global phenomenon—while big capital (e.g. venture capital) remains inaccessible to most people with good ideas, they can still call on the normal everyday citizen to invest and help them make their dreams a reality.
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