Kickstarter (Greenpoint, Brooklyn) was launched in April 2009 and is dedicated to aiding the funding of creative projects. It’s the home for everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through the direct support of people who make pledges to the project creator. Since its launch, 5.5 million people have pledged $960 million, funding 55,000 creative projects. Thousands of creative projects are raising funds on Kickstarter right now.

Being open and sharing ideas is an essential part of Kickstarter. The platform is collaborative by nature, and is a powerful community-building tool for project creators. If you are unwilling to share information about your project with potential backers then Kickstarter probably isn’t for you.

Before they are launched, Kickstarter reviews each project. A member of its Project Specialist team does a quick review of each project to make sure it meets Kickstarter’s guidelines. They verify that it’s a creative project in one of 13 categories, and that it has a specific, finite goal. They do not investigate a creator’s ability to complete their project. Project Specialists may also offer the creator helpful feedback on ways to structure or present their project.

 Creators come together with backers to bring Kickstarter projects to life. They ask that creators in hardware and product categories be clear with backers about the work remaining in their project, and their prior experience in hardware and design. Kickstarter asks that hardware projects be shown as they are — even if it’s just an early working prototype. They don’t allow photorealistic renderings or simulated uses of products. Plus, they ask creators in these categories to detail for backers how they’ll produce their product and whether they’ve done things like it before.

Hardware and Product Design projects are prohibited from offering rewards in quantities greater than one. Multiple quantities can imply that rewards are shrink-wrapped and ready to ship, which can reinforce the misconception that Kickstarter is a store, which it isn’t.