Kickstarter is doing well. Project creators have launched 38,000 successful undertakings for $441 million in pledges since its launch four years ago. And it’s only expected to grow. So it’s no wonder that crowdfunding clones, imitators, and innovators are popping up like weeds. From the uber-broad to the niche, entrepreneurs have, are, and will continue to build platforms that fill holes in Kickstarter’s coverage, methods, or both.
These would-be Kickstarters are doing well, too. The (somewhat dubious) Crowdfunding Industry Report estimated nearly $3 billion generated through these sites in 2012, up 91 percent from 2011. But how long can it last? Is there a limit to how many bike lights, iPhone cases, and slim wallets the crowd will back? Crowdfunding is at a tipping point. We’re about to discover whether it’ll become endemic — a standard, behind-the-scenes, constant method of funding — or go the way of Groupon‘s daily deals, gradually fizzling out. And these innovators, depending on their success, are going to help answer that question.