Veronica Mars and the Crowd-Funding Effect
By Peter H. Diamandis M.D. on April 10, 2013
You may have seen the recent news about how the producer of "Veronica Mars" in just a couple of days raised more than $2 million on Kickstarter for a possible big-screen version of the cult television show that starred Kristen Bell.
This just demonstrates the enormous and continuing power of crowd funding as a means for driving innovation. Now, a movie isn't necessarily an innovative product – unless we're talking about the technology that such forward-thinking directors as James Cameron have introduced in films like "Avatar" – but the way of raising money to fund projects is changing the way things are being made. It's even changing the way creative thinkers are approaching the conception of a project.
A little while ago, I wrote about Pebble, the innovative new watch that in a matter of months had raised $10 million in funding from 68,929 backers in 34 days on Kickstarter. The watch recently launched and has been shipping. And crowd funding made it all possible. As Eric Micigovsky said to me, "Kickstarter offers in one sense, not a Hail Mary pass, not your typical funding approach. KickStarter is changing the way a lot of these projects like ours are getting started, a project where there's a clear reward, a clear physical opportunity."
What strikes me not only about these two Kickstarter projects, as well as others from crowd funding sources such as Crowdfunder (the subject of a future blog), Indiegogo and here and here), is that such big dreams and bold ideas are seeing light of the day with increasing regularity.
As RocketHub CEO and co-founder Eric Meece said, he began hearing from scientists about crowd funding their research projects shortly after RocketHub launched. "Now, some scientists are raising five figures on the site," Eric explained. "They're saying the funding is letting them take the first step. When grants and research money are unavailable, crowd funding steps in. And RocketHub can share the story of what the research is about – to build a community supportive of such new ideas."
As I wrote when speaking about Indiegogo, crowd funding is the liberation of capital, a mechanism to underwrite big and bold ideas. There are now hundreds of crowd funding sites generating billions of dollars in funding – an exponential increase in just a few years. "Today crowd funding is one of the hottest things since social media: A person with a great idea can find people who are equally passionate who can help underwrite it," said co-founder Slava Rubin.
Crowd funding has become an increasingly viable option for businesses, innovators, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists. The thinking has changed, the technology is accepted: the crowd is an essential part of the creation of content, design, innovation.
Certainly a project built around "Veronica Mars" is going to get a lot of attention for crowd funding – it's show biz, after all. But crowd funding, as well as crowdsourcing, is no longer something done by others. It's part of the everyday conversation of entrepreneurs, scientists, technology mavens with innovative ideas and a passion to move ahead with them.
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