What do fruit distribution from India, a product called “Morning Head” and a portable party powered by boom boxes have in common? They are all business ideas launched locally and looking for funding through Kickstarter.com.
The website acts as a platform for people trying to turn pipe dreams into reality by raising money from local donors and curbing the need for capital investment.
Boston engineer Max Valverde, who created “Morning Head” — a product that wets your bed head in a hurry — has raised nearly $5,000 so far from the community, using the site.
“[Kickstarter] is a way to bring something to market quick,” said Valverde. “Without it, it could’ve taken more than a year to vet this project.”
Whether it’s a physical product, funding for a play or donations for a solo album, creators like Valverde must make a video and offer incentives to “backers” for their contributions.
There is also a level of trust involved, according to Justin Kazmark, director of communications for the website.
“You are pre-purchasing something in advance, but the fulfillment process is the responsibility of the creator,” he said.
While a project isn’t guaranteed to come to life, the company hasn’t had issues with people abusing the site to get free cash because of “strong social forces” holding creators accountable for completing a project.
Take Harvard University student Annie Ryu, for example. She plans on delivering exotic fruits to people’s palates if they help her company “Global Village Fruits” raise funds.
“[Kickstarter] gives me another outlet for publicity instead of just e-mailing people asking for help,” she said.
Backers take pledge, get goodies
When you back a Kickstarter project, you are guaranteed some goodies for helping pitch in. For the Decentralized Dance Party, when people pledged more than $60, they received a “Jammy-Pack;” a combo stereo and fanny pack that plays tunes from your iPod.
The DDP is a battery-powered party on the go scheduled to hit the streets of Boston in May. Hundreds of “party people” will carry boom boxes tuned to an FM broadcast controlled by a DJ.
Tales of Boston Success:
-30 backers helped raise $1,028 for “Super-Townie,” a humorous web series about Revere.
-74 backers helped raise $6,069 for “Blood Rose Rising,” a live-action theatrical series that starts Feb. 17 in Davis Square.
-370 backers helped raise $24,601 for “Cam-Crates,” specialized element proof carrying cases for DSLR cameras.
Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear