Kickstarter, the popular crowdfunding platform, has changed its name and has reincorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation. The announcement that it is changing its business model was made on its blog.
From now on Kickstarter Inc will be known as Kickstarter PBC, and joins other U.S. based companies like Patagonia Inc and This American Life, in publically chasing social values in their business.
The announcement read “More and more voices are rejecting business as usual, and the pursuit of profit above all. Positive impact on society becomes part of a Benefit Corporation’s legally defined goals.”
Begun in 2009, Kickstarter is known for pooling individual investor funds for movies and electronic gadgets. It has raised funds for projects ranging from the movie “Veronica Mars” to Pebble Smartwatches, making its money by taking a percentage of the money raised. The latter crowd sourcing project reportedly raised the watchmaker $10 million.
Now the company said it will pursue a “positive impact on society” - legally.
“In our new charter we spell out our mission, our values, and the commitments we have made to pursue them. There was not a single dissenting vote by a Kickstarter shareholder to re-incorporate as a Benefit Corporation” read the blog announcement.
The company said that among other things, its new charter will ensure it donates five percent of all post-tax profits to arts education and groups fighting inequality, and "nor will it sell user data to third parties."
It pledged that “Kickstarter will not use loopholes or other esoteric but legal tax management strategies to reduce its tax burden".
One of the company’s founders, Perry Chen, said he hopes other companies will follow Kickstarters newly adopted model. He said "As younger companies come up and think about how they operate and how they want to be structured, maybe they won't be so easily swept up by all the usual choices. Maybe they'll be thinking long term, thinking about how to look after the things they care about."