In an age where funding for the arts is limited at best, Perry Chen and Yancey Strickler have been looking out for their creative comrades. In 2009, the two young, hungry-but-not-quite-starving artists joined with a third co-founder, Charles Adler, to realize an idea that had been kicking around in their heads since at least 2001. And thus began Kickstarter, a site that allows artists to crowd-fund donations for creative projects. Kickstarter has gone on to become the world’s No. 1 crowd-funding website, and one of the most influential tech startups of the decade. And it’s only four years old.
In that time, Kickstarter has moved more than $488 million in the categories of design, technology, film, music, art and more. Kickstarter has birthed some pretty prestigious offspring: 10 percent of this year’s Sundance films were funded by Kickstarter, along with three Academy Award nominees. Kickstarter has also introduced the world to some seriously high-profile, buzzworthy items, like Pebble, a smartphone watch that has raised over $10 million.
In four short years, Mr. Chen and Mr. Strickler have redefined the way the web thinks about arts funding, allowing more than 86,000 filmmakers, artists and visionaries of all stripes to turn their creative dreams into financeable reality—and make us all freelance patrons of the arts. Oh, and they have an app now, to make supporting creative projects even easier. Time to cancel those Met and MoMa donations?