Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Travel News .

Kickstarter's creative community takes hold in Britain
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Dec 09, 2012

Tea enthusiast Emilie Holmes this week hit the streets of London in her antique van serving flavourful loose-leaf tea to drinkers she says have had to settle for low-quality brew -- courtesy of around 300 complete strangers.

The 27-year-old Londoner has turned her battered grey 1974 Citroen H van, whose engine growls like a small aircraft mid-take-off, into a mobile tea bar that features black, green, oolong and white teas.

Holmes, who left her job in advertising to launch the business, needed about 10,000 ($16,000, 12,000 euros) to refurbish the delivery truck with flooring, shelving, worktops, sinks and other basic supplies.

But instead of taking a loan from the bank or pitching to an investor, she posted her tea project on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.

Just 25 days later, Holmes had raised 14,682 from 372 backers, most of whom she didn't know -- and she does not have to pay any of it back.

"To have that support is so unexpected," she told AFP. "Even the pledges of 1 are amazing because it's kind of like a 'thumbs-up, go for it'."

Her project is one of the first success stories from Kickstarter's new British venture, which opened on October 31.

Run by 46 people out of a tenement building in New York City, the website provides a space for creators to bid for funding from people around the world.

Since its launch in 2009, more than 3.1 million people have pledged more than $426 million to about 33,000 creative projects ranging from films to new technologies and food projects.

Despite being considered the largest crowdfunding site worldwide, initially only creators with a US bank account could take part.

But British innovators can now try their luck and in the first week they launched 171 projects, raising more than 588,000 from more than 15,000 pledges.

"It oozes creativity. It's about exciting, passionate people doing things, rather than other sites where it sort of feels like it's about the money," Holmes said as she sipped from a cup of Starbucks tea that was not to her liking.

Holmes has been talking about a tea-related project with family and friends for the past four years, but it wasn't until the mobile tea van went up on the website that she was able to gauge public interest.

"It was an amazing market research exercise because people have the opportunity to choose who they want to exist, and if they want your idea to come to life, then they help it happen," she said.

Holmes is lucky that the online community liked her idea.

For 56 percent of those bidding for funds on Kickstarter, the money never materialises.

Backers can pledge between 1 and 5,000 (or $1 and $10,000), but their donations are only taken once the project's funding goals are reached.

In return they are guaranteed nothing but the satisfaction of participating in a new creative process, although there are occasional tangible awards.

Holmes will give 95 backers who pledged between 15 and 25 a bag of tea, an illustrated postcard, a loyalty card and their names listed on her website as founding supporters.

On other projects it's just e-mail updates about how the work is unfolding.

"Once you get people involved in it they want it to work too," said Adam Smith, 33, who has already raised more than 5,000 from 92 backers to publish an illustrated children's book -- with more time still left to donate.

He is also a donor, having given money to support another children's book.

"I just think if you want to be a part of Kickstarter you've got to be part of the community, and you've got to wish other people well," he said.

Kickstarter isn't only creators backing other creators.

Some, like Alex Clymo, a 24-year-old PhD student at the London School of Economics, have only used Kickstarter to pledge.

He made a modest contribution to an iPhone video game developed by two Americans, and will receive a copy of the game when it's finished.

"I wanted to be a part of it. It's very much about feeling part of a project," Clymo said.

Donors cannot be sure however that their promised rewards will arrive on time, if at all.

Ethan Mollick, assistant professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania, said his research has shown particular problems for creators of large projects in delivering promised products to deadline.

"Kickstarter says that it's not a pre-order system, and you aren't customers, you are patrons," Mollick told AFP. "If you are viewing it as Amazon, you are making a mistake."

Creators also need to be wary of promising too much, as they have no idea how many people will support them.

"It's a bit like running a business in itself. You have to kind of budget it all really carefully," said Holmes.

Although she said it was "terrifying" to put her idea on Kickstarter to be scrutinized, she exceeded her 10,000 funding goal by 146 percent.

She even had backers from other countries who may never see her tea van cruising along London's streets, but they will surely ride with her in spirit.


Related Links
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

At Helsinki's Slush, start-ups 'speed date' for financing
Helsinki (AFP) Nov 23, 2012
It's 10:00 am at Helsinki's Cable Factory and for Yan Shtefanets, a 23-year-old Russian student, the clock is ticking: he has two minutes to pitch his start-up to investors to secure much-needed financing. The Slush start-up conference brought together hundreds of investors and start-ups from northern Europe over the course of two days Wednesday and Thursday, to take part in the technology s ... read more

SPACEX Awarded Two EELV Class Missions From The USAF

Russia Set to Launch Telecoms Satellite for Gazprom

Sea Launch Delivers the EUTELSAT 70B Spacecraft into Orbit

S. Korea readies new bid to join global space club

NASA to send new rover to Mars in 2020

Safe Driving on Mars

Ancient Mars May Have Captured Enormous Floodwaters

NASA Announces Multi-Year Mars Program With New Rover In 2020

NASA's GRAIL Creates Most Accurate Moon Gravity Map

Chinese astronauts may grow veg on Moon

WSU researchers use 3-D printer to make parts from moon rock

China's Chang'e-3 to land on moon next year

Halfway Between Uranus and Neptune, New Horizons Cruises On

Dwarf planet Makemake lacks atmosphere

Keck Observations Bring Weather Of Uranus Into Sharp Focus

At Pluto, Moons and Debris May Be Hazardous to New Horizons Spacecraft During Flyby

Astronomers discover and 'weigh' infant solar system

Search for Life Suggests Solar Systems More Habitable than Ours

Do missing Jupiters mean massive comet belts?

Brown Dwarfs May Grow Rocky Planets

N. Korea completes installing rocket: report

S. Korea postpones rocket launch to 2013: official

N. Korea installs rocket on launch pad: report

Prototype Crew Access Arm Seal Tested for Orion

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

Heliophysics Nugget: Sungrazing Comets as Solar Probes

Asteroid dust from space

Nine Radar Images of Asteroid 2007 PA8

DARPA's Advanced Space Surveillance Telescope Could Be Looking Up From Down Under

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement