As Pebble’s latest project (Pebble Time) cleared $20 million in pledges, on top of $10 million the first time, it still might seem odd that the company decided to return to Kickstarter. But the truth is that creators come back to Kickstarter every day. In fact, creators who have run more than one project have received over $511 million in pledges — nearly a third of all money pledged on Kickstarter.
Already in 2015, Pebble, Max Temkin, 3Doodler, Spark, and many others have returned to gather funding and a community around new projects. By now that’s not so unusual: 22,000 Kickstarter creators — 12% of all of them — have launched more than one project. It’s easy to see why. The funding success rate for creators who come back after a successfully funded project is nearly double that of the overall site average — and their next projects do even better.
Kickstarter is a tool that creators can use again and again, pulling in new fans along the way. Here’s a look at how the average number of backers grows as creators fund multiple projects.
The ability to build community is one of the best things about using crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter — and that can turn out to be more important than the money you raise. One serial creator is Elly Blue, a maker in Portland who’s run 20 publishing projects, all of them focused on bikes, women, and women on bikes, raising between $500 and $10,000 each time.
Elly wanted to print a magazine back in 2010, and a friend told her about Kickstarter, describing it as “the world pays you to do what you want.” After her first success, Elly says, the financial and community benefits kept her coming back: “People sometimes seem to be as or more excited about the Kickstarter campaign as they are about the books themselves. It turns the project into something more participatory, an event.”
Projects from returning creators are more common in some categories than others. This chart shows the fraction of projects in each category that are from creators using Kickstarter for the second, third, or even fiftieth time.
Let’s look at how the success rate of creators’ first projects compares to that of subsequent ones broken down by category. The first column here is the success rate for first projects from all creators, whether or not they launched another one. The second column is the success rate for second-and-later projects, including those from creators who didn’t reach their goal the first time.
Repeat crowdfunding creators get more of a bump in some categories than others, but as you can see the success rate improves across the board. These statistics really show the power of the crowdfunding community as a whole, and the Kickstarter platform as a way to grow and sustain it.