Mehdi Sabzalian and Anthony Tran from Space Concordia
Kickstarter launched its service in Canada on September 9 this year, and now seems as good a time as any to take an ad-hoc look at its progress.
Prior to September 9, the crowdfunding void had been filled by Canadian crowdfunding platforms Indiegogo and Fundrazr, services that use the same principles as Kickstarter with slight differences.
Despite being barely two months in, there have already been some spectacular successes, like the 19-year-old from Montreal who’s making a smartwatch. His backers have pledged over $340,000, on an ask of only $100,000, with 26 days remaining on his campaign. It seems likely he’ll end up with $1 million or so. Given that the projects that have already achieved their target don’t need the extra attention, here are five of the more interesting and varied projects floating around on Kickstarter that have yet to meet their funding goal.
Here are a bunch of university engineering students, who have already won the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge, who would like to test a self-healing materials technology that they’ve developed. The catch is, they want to test it in space. They’ve got a congratulatory video from astronaut Julie Payette, a crack team of scientific geniuses supervised by professors, and a great idea developing what appears to be an absolutely vital technology. And yet, as of this writing, they’re more than $10,000 short of their goal with only five days remaining in the life of their campaign. People, for love of country, these young people are trying to put their technology into orbit.
Pretty self-explanatory. This is a teacher in Scarborough trying to raise funds to upgrade the out-of-date materials available to her students. Don’t think of it as charity, but as an investment in the future. Everyone talks about Canada’s productivity deficit, but precious few put their money in the general vicinity of their mouth and step up. Literacy among young people and the development of their critical faculties are the only way forward in building a future that anyone would care to live in. She’s asking for a measly $1,500 and to date has $387 donated by 8 backers.
Food trucks arrived in Montreal last summer after a long prohibition and have definitely improved the mood of the city. Sure, there are some issues around whether food trucks are priced appropriately, given that they’re doling out street food, but in general it’s been a good thing. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Regina, but the place could definitely use a food truck. So, the plan is to buy a 1974 Winnebago (classic) and retrofit it with three commercial grade fridges, a freezer, an oven as well as a design makeover. As of now, they’ve raised $430 towards a target of $21,500, with 18 days to go.
Documentaries seem especially suited to crowdfunding, for some reason, more so than, say, feature films or TV series (with the exception of celebrity initiatives such as those by Zach Braff and Spike Lee). “I’m Gone” is a portrait of Amy, an ex-heroin addict musician thirty-something mother from Nova Scotia. Everybody screws up every once in a while, and most deserve a second chance. Here’s a film offering a glimpse of hope into potentially bleak subject matter. With 22 days left on the clock, the filmmakers have raised just over $1,000 on a target of $15,000.
The oldest technology on earth is related to the creation of alcohol for drinking. Human beings have figured out how to transform anything, other than rocks, into a relaxing beverage. Moonshiners up and down the eastern half of North America have a long and honourable history, using a variety of local ingredients. In the Maritimes, molasses is quite often the base ingredient, owing to longstanding colonial ties with the Caribbean. What is more Canadian than maple syrup? And Quebec is its natural world headquarters. Here’s a man who would like to set up a couple of stills and refine the product. He’s asking for $150,000 and as of this writing has one backer who has pledged one dollar. He’s got 19 long, anxious days ahead of him.