Kickstarter CEO Perry Chen told his audience at GigaOM’s RoadMap conference in San Francisco Monday that he is in it for the long haul. “We don’t ever want to sell this company, we don’t ever want to IPO this company,” he said, explaining that the goal was to build a company that is around for generations. “As a company, we want to stay small,” he added.
Chen also reminisced a little bit about the past of Kickstarter, explaining that he first came up with the idea for it in 2001 when trying to out on a concert in New Orleans. Those plans fell apart when Chen was confronted with too high upfront costs, and he wondered: “What if the audience could have gone online and just bought a ticket?”
That idea of involving the audience early on eventually became Kickstarter, and Chen drew some parallels to other forces of the social web and their way of empowering content creators. “Previously, people could talk to their community via Twitter and blogs,” he said, adding: “Now, you can even get funding from your community.”
Chen said that the nature of the site hasn’t really changed since its launch in 2009, with film still being the biggest category of projects. However, he said that games have quickly become a much bigger deal than they previously were. Last year, $3.5 million were pledged for games, he explained. This year, games have already attracted 20 times as much finding on the site.
Kickstarter recently put out new guidelines to product makers that require them to not post mock photos of their products, and Chen said Monday that it was important for people on Kickstarter to be honest with their community, which includes communicating challenges. “Creators need to… set expectations for their backers,” he said. But backers also need to have realistic expectations, he added. “It’s not a store. It’s not Best Buy.”
Check out the rest of our RoadMap 2012 live coverage here, and a video recording of the session follows below: