Earlier this fall, crowdfunding platform Kickstarter announced it became a public benefit corporation (PBC). This type of corporation performs a specific function for the benefit of the public. Now CEO and co-founder of the famous website, Yancey Strickler is ready to share details about the business’ change and its philosophy.
During a recent interview with the Guardian, Yancey stated:
“We believe that a universe only driven by profit maximisation can be poisonous, to culture especially. We’ve always approached Kickstarter from a very idealistic perspective. It’s who we are. From the very beginning we all vowed never to sell the company, to never try to go public. To preserve this as a public trust: a space that can exist, and in a strong creative economy, a place where new ideas can happen.”
Also denying that Kickstarter is hoping to shame other technology companies into following a similar business path, Strickler explained:
“We remember what brought us here. Every giant corporation started as a small company, but at some point they lost their soul. I think there are other entrepreneurs and people like us that want to do something more than just survive or get rich.There’s a lack of models to follow: if you look around the world of technology, there’s a lot of talk of valuations and growth rates and all of that, but there’s not as much talk about impact, about responsibility and things like that.”
Revealing what caused Kickstarter to become a PBC, Yancey noted:
“We just want to create another path, especially for an entrepreneur who’s starting something now, who feels similarly idealistic about the world. They shouldn’t be forced to put aside their strong beliefs just to get that cheque.”
In regards to any future IPO’s or acquisitions, Strickler added:
“I think it makes it easier, especially for the sort of people that we work with. We’ve always been very open with people about being an option holder: an equity holder in Kickstarter is not the win-a-million lottery ticket that a startup may be promising you.
“There shouldn’t be ‘everyone just gets rich and stops caring and is shopping for boats all day’. That is not a good moment for a company. Here there is upside, but it is upside on an annual basis … It turns out there are some exceptionally talented people who are interested in that.”