Crowdfunding site Kickstarter, based in New York City, made its Asia debut on Wednesday, August 31, with launches in Singapore and Hong Kong, giving entrepreneurs in the two technology hubs the opportunity to raise funding from global investors. Prior to its launch in the two Asian cities, Kickstarter was in 18 markets including the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and several other European countries.
By late Wednesday, new projects in Hong Kong and Singapore were seeking funding on the site, including a self-watering indoor planter, invented by a 13-year-old boy, which had attracted 183 backers, AFP reports.
"As one of the most exciting regions for emerging creative culture and innovation, we're thrilled to begin to support creators in Asia," CEO and co-founder Yancey Strickler said in a statement.
But people backing a Kickstarter project can come from anywhere in the world, and more than 100,000 people from both cities have made 600,000 pledges for projects over the last seven years, the company said. Kickstarter will find itself in competition with local crowdfunding sites like Singapore's MoolahSense and Hong Kong's FringeBacker.
Since the crowdfunding site launched in 2009, over $2.5 billion has been raised for more than 110,000 projects, ranging from films to new technology and food projects. Success stories include the Pebble smartwatch and Oculus Rift headset. In 2014, an Ohio man received $55,000 after asking for $10 to make a potato salad. Backers pledge money to projects, but only have to pay up if the funding target is reached.