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Previously, project creators based in the U.K. (and other countries) could only launch their campaigns if they had a bank account and address in the U.S., perhaps through a friend or colleague. This is because Amazon Payments – the platform’s default payment processing company – does not support non-U.S. recipients.
Kickstarter’s founders had revealed the impending move several weeks ago. At that time, they enabled U.K.-based creatives and entrepreneurs to begin building their campaigns. Over 1,500 individuals took the opportunity to construct projects, Kickstarter’s founders wrote in a blog post announcing the launch.
By our count, there are currently over 200 U.K.-based projects on the platform; that number is likely to go up in the coming hours as more entrepreneurs launch their campaigns. The first U.K.-based campaign, according to the co-founders, was Picade, which has already raised over £15,000 of its £32,768 goal.
Kickstarter has not launched a new site exclusively for U.K.-based projects, meaning viewers see campaigns from London and Cambridge next to those from Los Angeles and Chicago. Those wishing to browse projects only from the U.K. can sort campaigns by location.
The campaign monetary goals appear in pounds sterling, rather than U.S. dollars. When contributing from outside the U.K., the approximate conversion rate is shown next to the pledge amount (£1 is about $1.61).
As it does for U.S.-based campaigns, Kickstarter will take a 5% fee on all successful campaigns. Payment processing fees are also roughly the same: 3% + £0.20 for donations over 10 pounds and 5% + £0.05 for those under 10 pounds. This compares to 2.9% + $0.30 for donations over 10 dollars and 5% + $0.05 for under that amount.
Speaking with Crowdsourcing.org editor Eric Blattberg regarding the announcement several weeks ago, Crowdsourcing author Jeff Howe said the move represents an important symbolic step in Kickstarter’s growth. While he predicted the revenue generated in the U.K. would not come close to matching that in the U.S., he believes it is an important move when it comes to building up investor confidence.
“You don’t invest in foreign markets unless the trend lines point toward a return on investment,” Howe said.
Kickstarter's founders also expect to move into other markets.
“The request to expand internationally has long been one of our most requested features,” co-founder Yancey Strickler told the BBC. “We certainly are interested. We're going to see how the U.K. launch goes and figure out the next moves from there. There [are] a lot of places that will be interesting.”
We will be following how Kickstarter’s U.K. launch affects the crowdfunding ecosystem in the country. There are a number of crowdfunding platforms in the U.K., including equity-based ones, though few have a similar level of appeal as the New York-based behemoth, which has helped almost 32,000 campaigns raise $343 million.