KICKSTARTER, the New York-based platform which popularised crowdfunding, this week officially launched in Singapore and Hong Kong - making it easier for entrepreneurs and creators here to start projects from their home cities.
In a blog post on the Kickstarter website, Sean Leow, who helps support Kickstarter's international community, said that the localised platforms will birth more innovative projects from this part of the world for backers around the world to support.
He added: "Local backers will be able to take advantage of experiential rewards like attending a film screening or going to the opening night of a new restaurant."
There will not be a separate Kickstarter page for Singapore and Hong Kong; all projects will be listed on Kickstarter.com alongside other global projects. Projects from Singapore will be listed in Singapore dollars and those from Hong Kong in Hong Kong dollars. Backers in the US will see a conversion to US dollars.
For now, users will not be able to select which currency in which to list their project. Kickstarter explained in a FAQ page: "There is a common misperception that USD projects do better, but we've looked into the data internally and have not found any evidence that projects listed in USD perform any better than projects listed in other currencies."
Among the newly-launched Kickstarter projects from Singapore are the GIY Stick, which reuses bottles and fabric to make any pot self-watering, and Hydra, a simple, automated indoor plant care system for both beginners and serious gardeners.
As at Thursday, GIY Stick has raised S$10,769 from 305 backers, with another 28 days to reach its S$20,000 target. Hydra has secured S$8,384 from 62 backers. It has 29 days to go to hit its goal of S$55,000.
For every successful project, Kickstarter will charge a 5 per cent fee; users will incur an additional payments processing fee of about 4-5 per cent. Kickstarter, unlike newer types of crowdfunding platforms such as FundedHere (a securities-based crowdfunding platform), does not allow projects that offer financial incentives like equity.
Mr Leow said that Kickstarter has been "overwhelmed by the passionate backer communities" in Singapore and Hong Kong, who have collectively pledged over 300,000 times to more than 40,000 global projects.
William Hooi, founder of not-for-profit association Singapore Makers, told The Business Times that Kickstarter's Singapore debut is a big thing. "Not only can we expect more bespoke products from Singapore, but also from South-east Asia. Proxies in Singapore will be able to help bespoke makers and designers from the region raise funding, with the hope of even reaching to the US market."