Friday, July 13, 2012

How to kick-start your life

Ketchum author launches project on crowd-funding website


By JENNIFER TUOHY
Express Staff Writer

Matt Leidecker and his wife, Christine, with their children, Sarah and Max, pose in a Sawtooth Mountains meadow. They spent four months last summer living in a 1987 Jayco Motorhome researching the trails and peaks for Leideckerís new guidebook. Photo courtesy Matt Leidecker

Have you ever wanted to create a board game featuring zombies? Film a documentary about the other Michael Jackson, or develop a hot new accessory for an iPad? If you did, you may be too late, because these ideas are close to becoming reality through the hard work of three Idaho entrepreneurs who used the crowd-sourcing power of the Internet to kick start their dreams.

Kickstarter.com is the latest Internet phenomenon breaking into the mainstream. Created in April 2009 by Lance Ivy, the online crowd-sourced funding platform has exploded in the past year, becoming the perfect platform for would-be entrepreneurs to find bottom-up funding.

Billed as the world's largest funding platform for creative projects, Kickstarter claims that "every project is independently crafted, put to all-or-nothing funding, and supported by friends, fans, and the public in return for rewards."

Other than for five days each July, when the country's top media and technology minds converge on Sun Valley Resort for the annual Allen & Co. conference, Ketchum is not known as a tech hub. However, two local entrepreneurs have paved the way for the Wood River Valley in the online funding world.

In January, John Richards of Ketchum used Kickstarter to raise $44,758 from 577 backers to make a documentary film about the British journalist and author Michael Jackson, whose books and television series about beer inspired the global phenomenon that is the craft brewing renaissance.

Currently, local author and photographer Matt Leidecker is trying to fund the printing of his newest guidebook, "Exploring the Sawtooths -- A Comprehensive Guide."

"I first heard about Kickstarter on Facebook," Leidecker said in an interview this week. "Someone posted a camera strap project that looked interesting, so I followed the link and pledged some money."

That first exposure piqued his interest and he decided to delve deeper and figure out how to make it work for him.

<<

"First, your project has to meet Kickstarter specifications," he said. "It has to be project-based, it can't just be for continued funding of a business. If you meet those specs, you then go ahead and create your page with your story, a video and your information. Then you choose your funding levels, or rewards as they call them. The process is very straightforward—you could do it all in an hour or two."

The rewards are one of the most intriguing aspect of the Kickstarter model. As opposed to the traditional venture capital funding model, where an investor owns a piece of the business and expects a return, with Kickstarter, backers pledge a dollar amount and receive rewards based on that amount.

"Kickstarter says the most successful funding level is the $25-$30 range," Leidecker said. "It's usually set up so you're pre-buying something, a product or some exclusive access or insider knowledge."

Herein lies the appeal of Kickstarter—which is hugely successful in terms of attracting backers for the projects on its site—people like to feel they are getting in on something new and exciting, and that they're helping build something from the ground up.

Recently a project named Pebble asked for $100,000 to fund a smart-watch. Within 27 hours it had reached $1 million. By the close of the 30-day funding period (the standard length of time for a project) Pebble had raised $10,266,845.

Leidecker, who is trying to fund the printing of his guidebook to the Sawtooth Mountains, chose to offer rewards such as public recognition and insider updates ($5), a custom-designed T-shirt and signed preordered copy of the guidebook ($55) and a three-day, four-night photography expedition into the mountains with Leidecker and the Sawtooth Mountain Guides ($1,100). His page went live Tuesday and will close July 31. In one day he raised $430 from 10 backers.

There are some basic rules. A project has to reach 100 per cent of its funding goal or everybody gets their money back. If it does reach the goal, Kickstarter takes a 5 percent fee. Also, the "investor" has little recourse if a project fails.

"They take in good faith that the project will follow through," Leidecker said. "But what's really great about Kickstarter is it can be a perfect platform to see if your idea will even succeed. You might put a little bit of time into making a prototype or you might just do a conceptual thing. For example, I'm thinking about doing a White Clouds guidebook, so I might use Kickstarter to see if there's enough enthusiasm out there to fund the research phase. It's a proof of concept before you really have to put a lot of money down."

Kickstart Idaho

To learn more about Matt Leidecker's Sawtooth guidebook Kickstarter project visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/852912006/exploring-the-sawtooths. There are about 100 Kickstarter projects in Idaho looking for support (including a zombie board game in Idaho Falls, www.kickstarter.com/projects/683352228/famous-zombies). Interested backers can also browse through categories such as art, comics, theater, food and technology to find a project that interests them.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.