When Gary Sohmers launched his 30-day Kickstarter campaign, he was optimistic about raising the $22,000 needed to fund his creation: video technology that lets a fan witness a celebrity sign a personalized autograph. But in late March, with 41 hours left and only $830 raised, he was in a different mood.
“You hope all those people you’ve done favors for will think, ‘Gary’s never asked for anything, and now he’s asking for just a dollar, or $10,’ ” said Sohmers, a Hudson-based antiques and collectibles dealer who has appeared as an appraiser on PBS’s “Antiques Roadshow.” “That’s the emotional part. It’s not the money — it’s the support you hope to get from friends.”
Well aware that under Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing policy, only projects that hit their goal get any funding, Sohmers’s voice trailed off, and the clock continued its merciless march.
By now the success stories on Kickstarter, the New York-based crowdfunding site for creative projects, are legendary: Fans of the canceled TV show “Veronica Mars” pledged $1 million, half of the goal, in just over four hours to fund a “Veronica Mars” movie (by April 8, the total was at $4.8 million and counting). Singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer raised $1.2 million to fund an album when she was seeking only $100,000. The creators of the Pebble watch, an electronic paper watch that connects with smartphones, raised $10 million — 100 times their goal.
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