#Guides #Marketplaces | 12 min read | Updated: 8/16/2022

How to Start a Crowdfunding Website Like Kickstarter

Updated: 8/16/2022
, Chief Strategy Officer of Sloboda Studio
#Guides #Marketplaces
12 min read

From the books subscriptions and war bonds in the 19th century to modern platforms, crowdfunding has a long history.

But what was the first crowdfunding website? Kickstarter, for sure.

Today, just on this crowdfunding platform, there has been $4,770,949,649 pledged to almost 200,000 projects.

The number of crowdfunding platforms is growing, as well as their revenue. But we have decided not to reinvent the wheel and take this platform as an example to show you all the benefits and pitfalls of crowdfunding development.

You will see that even giants such as Kickstarter need some time to grow. And this is OK! Below we have a number of tips on how to start a crowdfunding website.

How to Start a Crowdfunding Website Like Kickstarter

The Kickstarter history

What is a Crowdfunding Website?

A crowdfunding platform is a platform that is used to host and promote various startup projects on the Internet. In other words, this is a place where people can post their business ideas in order to gather money for their implementation.

Different crowdfunding platforms may offer various rules for campaigns and backers, but, in today’s blog post, we choose to focus on the first-ever and the top crowdfunding website – Kickstarter.

Types of Crowdfunding Platforms

The modern crowdfunding platforms are represented in different types and shapes, like peer-to-peer, equity, business, profit-sharing or donation platforms – but you have to choose the one that is suitable for your project, business, or venture.

  • Peer-to-peer lending. This type of crowdfunding platform implies the crowd lending money to a company. The users give money to support a particular project and, once the campaign is over, an amount goes to the project owner.
  • Donation-based Usually such crowdfunding platforms are dedicated to charity projects. People can donate small amounts to meet the larger funding in the end.
  • Equity Crowdfunding for business goals, dedicated mostly to investment in business stakes. An idea of such a platform is very similar to venture capital of common stock exchanges.
  • Rewards-based People can contribute to various kinds of projects in exchange for a non-financial reward – usually the goods or services the company produces.
  • Profit-sharing: In this model, companies receive funding now in exchange for their future profits or revenues.

Top 7 Crowdfunding Platforms

Kickstarter was the first one and it has launched the whole new market of online funding platforms.

Let’s turn to the most well-known Kickstarter alternatives.


A global crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, focuses on creative projects.

kickstarter homepage


Another top crowdfunding website, Indiegogo, allows people to support funds for an idea, charity, or startup business

indiegogo homepage


The crowdfunding platform Patreon is focusing mostly on supporting creators of video content, music, and art.

patreon homepage


Fundable offers both rewards-based and equity-based campaigns for small businesses. Fundable bases on fees: the platform doesn’t take any percent of the campaign, but charges up to $180 for each campaign month.

fundable homepage


A platform for charitable crowdfunding campaigns – GoFundMe.

gofundme homepage


Fundly is a platform for any kinds of charity projects, including non-profit organizations, schools, or social teams.

fundly homepage

Surely, the leading crowdfunding platforms are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Let’s have a closer look on them.

Kickstarter alternatives: Indiegogo comparison

How Does Kickstarter Work?

“To help bring creative projects to life” this is how Kickstarter represents its mission.

Kickstarter was the first to successfully implement the crowdfunding model: to focus on a middle ground between patronage and commerce, so people could offer their creative ideas in exchange for support from backers.

The platform appeared to be a real salvation for young entrepreneurs: according to the Kickstarter stats, there has been almost $5 billion pledged and over 170,000 projects backed during the platform’s existence.

Create crowdfunding website: Kickstarter statistics

Kickstarter Stats

Let’s have a closer look at the business model of Kickstarter.

Business Model

Before jumping to the development process, consider creating a crowdfunding website business plan.

Kickstarter business model includes:

  • All-ornothing strategy. That means that the project gets money only if the desired amount is reached. If it is not, the cards of backers won’t be charged and the project authors won’t be funded, even if they are just a couple dollars away from their goal.
  • Time limitations. Each campaign has its time limit for funding, and if the project fails to get the full amount before the “deadline”, no money will be collected.
  • Rewards for backers. The campaign creators are required to provide the backers with rewards.
  • Anonyms. If the backers do not want to show their names, they are allowed to remain anonymous and pledge incognito.
How to start a crowdfunding website: Kickstarter business model

Monetization Model

The ultimate goal of the Kickstarter platform is to help startups to receive funding for their young project. At the same time Kickstarter takes 5% of the money involved. Amazon, as a payment system, charges an additional 3-5%. 

How Startuppers Get Funded

To start collecting money for the project on Kickstarter, any startupper needs to be registered on its platforms and add the project on it.

The Kickstarter platform has a number of requirements for suitable projects:

  • Description and clear pictures; 
  • Being creative;
  • Fits one of the Kickstarter categories: Arts, Comics & Illustration, Design & Tech, Film, Food & Craft, Games, Music, Publishing;
  • Has a physical prototype;
  • Has a manufacturing plan.

Depending on the type of your future crowdfunding website, I encourage you to choose the requirements that would filter the projects and make your product more credible.

On Kickstarter, the project creator must indicate the deadline (but no longer than 3 months) and the minimum amount of funds to be raised.

If the project does not raise the required amount by the end of the term, the money is returned to the donors.

Kickstarter does not claim ownership of the projects or products that participate in campaigns; however, once the funding is complete, downloaded information and materials cannot be edited or removed.

How to Start a Crowdfunding Website: Choosing Features

When you start to build a crowdfunding website, it’s important to note that there isn’t a unified optimal set of product features. In most cases it would be unfair to speak about the features for a particular type of product.

A necessary set of features should be worked out during the project discovery phase through the analysis of the business model, competitive market, available time, and budgets.  

But, on the whole, we can discuss the two core groups of crowdfunding platform features:

Core Features

These  are the features your crowdfunding platform can’t survive without. We recommend starting their development first as they are crucial for your platform.

Optional Features

  • Unique product features are needed to differentiate you from your competitors and heavily depend on your exact business idea and model.
  • Additional features may be really vital and greatly improve your user experience. But unlike the unique features, they aren’t that necessary when developing the first version of your product – your MVP.  In most cases, it is better to implement the additional features later on and save some budget for promoting the MVP of the platform.

6 Core Features to Create Crowdfunding Website

Welcome Page

The welcome page is the face of any website, and it’s 100% relevant to the crowdfunding platform. This part of the website describes the main mission of the project, gives customers a short description, and presents goals and the mission. This page welcomes users.

Crowdfunding platform: Kickstarter Welcome Page

Kickstarter Welcome Page

Log In/Sign Up

Needless to say, these features will let your customers complete their registration. This step is required as long as only registered users are allowed to add their campaigns, back existing ones, like projects, or follow their creators.

Crowdfunding platform: Kickstarter Log-in/Sign Up Feature

Kickstarter Log-in/Sign Up Feature

User Account

The user account comprises features such as profile, settings, messages, and user activity. As we can see on Kickstarter, this page can also have recommended projects, saved projects, listings of people your customers have chosen to follow, and their own projects.

How to create a crowdfunding platform: Kickstarter user account

User account section

Saved Projects Section

Saved Projects Section

Recommended Projects Section

Recommended Projects Section

Following Accounts Section

Following Accounts Section

Starting a Crowdfunding Campaign

When startupers think of how to start a crowdfunding website, this feature is usually what they start with.

This feature stands for adding a new project by users so they can start Starting a crowdfunding campaign is when users add a new project so they can start receiving money from backers – people who donate to support the users’ idea.

On Kickstarter, this feature consists of three steps:

  • The first step lets the users choose their campaign topic so they can find their “target audience”. Topics include: arts, comics & illustration, design & tech, film, food & craft, games, music, publishing. This step could be edited later.
Starting a campaign on Kickstarter: Step 1

Starting a campaign on Kickstarter: Step 1

  • The second step is the Project Idea: the users are asked to describe what their project is dedicated to.
Start a campaign on Kickstarter: Step 2

Start a campaign on Kickstarter: Step 2

  • The third step is confirming the customer’s eligibility: choosing a location, age, verifying a bank account and government-issued ID and confirming that the user has a debit/credit card.
Start a campaign on Kickstarter: Step 3

Start a campaign on Kickstarter: Step 3


Categories are needed if the crowdfunding platform is dedicated to several topics. For example, Kickstarter has eleven categories: Arts, Comics, Illustration, Design, Tech, Film, Food, Craft, Games, Music, Publishing. Therefore, each category has its own page that you will need to develop.