Kickstarter has become a go-to destination for inventors and creatives to crowdfund their projects. But a consistent criticism of the platform is how easy it it is for project creators to worm their way out of delivering their promised products, even when they reach their funding goals.
Now, Kickstarter is providing hard data that shows just how often crowdfunded projects fail.
According to a study by Kickstarter and a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, 9% of projects on the platform failed to deliver rewards to backers. Eight percent of all Kickstarter dollars pledged were dumped into failed projects, and 7% of backers never received their requested rewards. About two-thirds of backers said their reward was delivered on time.
The study, whose findings Kickstarter says it did not influence, included survey answers of backers of more than 30,000 projects from 2009 to 2015.
Lots of high-profile Kickstarter projects have run into big problems after getting massive amounts of funding. In November the company behind a miniature drone that raised more than $2 million on the site declared bankruptcy, while another company making a high-tech cooler angered backers by selling the device on Amazon before providing it to everyone who supported the original Kickstarter project.
According to the study, though, the projects with the highest failure rate are those that raise less than $1,000.
Kickstarter cast the findings in a positive light, and again reiterated its long-held position that the platform is not a “store” where people can buy goods and get a guarantee it will arrive on their doorstep. “Is a 9% failure rate reasonable for a community of people trying to bring creative projects to life? We think so, but we also understand that the risk of failure may deter some people from participating,” the company wrote.