Full Interview Replay: Yahoo Tech Interviews Kickstarter Co-founder Yancey Strickler

Rafe Needleman
Editorial Director, Yahoo Tech
March 9, 2014

AUSTIN — Yancey Strickler, co-founder of the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, sat down for a talk with David Pogue at a Yahoo Tech Mix session at the SxSW festival.

The crowdfunding pioneer (who hates the term “crowdfunding”) talked about the service’s milestones, its mission and his favorite Kickstarter projects.

He was pleased to confirm that the site had passed $1 billion in transactions — about a week ago, he said. Of that funding, $250 million has gone to design and technology projects (the kind of things Yahoo Tech covers in its Kickstarter Reviews section).

Strickler said the world of hardware and product design has changed completely since his site came online. Today, he said, new hardware projects can be started and brought to market by a few dedicated people, and the journey from idea to prototype to deliverable product is open and transparent. With crowdfunding, the community of backers feels committed and connected, compared with “just buying something off the shelf at Best Buy.”

“Kickstarter is not a store,” Strickler said: It’s a way to connect, to be a fan. He added, “Stores are boring.”

Furthermore, Strickler said that backing a Kickstarter project is not just about getting a product, and it’s certainly not about investing in a company and hoping to profit from its success. It allows customers to forge a deeper relationship with a product. In answer to a question, he asked, “Have you forgotten what it is to be a fan? Have you forgotten what it is to love someone?”

Strickler is passionate about his company’s mission. He views it as “a public trust” and not simply a business. For this reason, he wants to remain pure and independent. “We will never IPO and never sell to a bigger company,” he said. “Kickstarter is more important than me or any of us.” See the clip.

By the numbers
To give a sense of Kickstarter’s journey so far, Strickler rolled out some numbers.

People who have pledged to Kickstarter projects: 6 million
Total number of pledges: 13 million
Number of projects: 150,000
Projects that have hit their funding goal: 60,000 (44 percent)
People who have backed more than one project: 1.7 million
Projects that Yancey Strickler himself has backed: 972

Favorite projects
Strickler was forthcoming on the projects he’s backed that he has loved the most. Check out the clip to see what they are:

For more SxSW coverage from the Yahoo Tech team, click here.