Diaspora, the project started by a few NYU comp-science undergrads, has been able to raise more than $200,000 through Kickstarter. What has been so amazing by this, is the fact that neither the pitch, nor the product description made a lot of sense to a lot of people (as is evident when you go through the comments).
What fascinates me are two things:
The way in which they were getting that money.
The amount of money these guys were able to get by coming to a relatively unknown platform (kickstarter).
As Simon Sinke pointed out so very eloquently in his TED talk, these guys were providing a message which was resonating with a lot of people: privacy and facebook’s ongoing issues with it. Most people still probably have no clue what it is these guys want to do or what benefits Diaspora is going to provide–aside from the fact that privacy is getting major attention. So, I guess this proves the point that these guys did not only address a growing pain but were also able to stimulate emotions in the people watching the talk from Eben Moglen that inspired them, reading about it in the news or just reading the headline on Kickstarter: Decentralize the web. To quote Simon here: it is far easier to ask people for something when they are emotionally hooked.
The platform, through which they were able to collect their seed funding, was already gaining some traction (as is evident by the Google Trends graph) before Diaspora was showing up. However, through all this media attention and the great buzz the four NYUs created, Kickstarter has the potential to become more than what it was before. Let’s face it: the call for a smaller amount of early stage VC funds and the ability to start your company with minimal investment provides a perfect ground for what startups need: some little cash that would be way too unattractive to professional capital investors but maybe just a bit too much one average John Doe. I hope Kickstarter fills this void and excels to provide us all with what we need: more startups left and right.