An inventor friend of mine told me about Kickstarter, a unique, online source for raising funding for creative projects and start-ups that make actual things. The very next day, I read about Kickstarter in the New York Times Business section ("A Web Edge For Makers Of Real Stuff", April 12, 2011).
The Times article made the site seem like a great resource for inventors who want to create stuff that you can hold in your hand and use. Kickstarter calls itself "A New Way to Fund and Follow Creativity" and lets entrepreneurs, inventors and others make a pitch for funding for a creative project. Kickstarter then invites people to invest in projects or small products that can be easy to make and distribute.
The article profiled a couple of mechanical engineers who devised steel shells called Coffee Joulies to put into coffee to cool it without diluting the brew. The engineers put their own money into creating prototypes but quickly realized that they needed more money to ramp up their business. They turned to Kickstarter. The Coffee Joulies website now even has a big banner talking about the NY Times article and offering to sell the product via Kickstarter.
When I visited Kickstarter.com, it looked to me more like a place to find funding for creative projects like films, books and music than a source of funding for inventors. Indeed, that was its original intent. But its purpose has expanded. The cool thing is that inventors and other creative folks who may not want to take the time to create a website, can use Kickstarter to sell their product. The Coffee Joulies owners have a video on Kickstarter.
Find out more for yourself by visiting Kickstarter. If you read the Times article, you'll also learn about other online resources for inventors and the explosion of interest in new gadgets and in hardware associated with smart phones. It's articles like these that make me believe America's collective creativity will help us recover.