Kickstarter offers crowdfunding in the UK
The popular crowdfunding website Kickstarter is, from today, accepting projects submitted from the UK, in pounds sterling.
The site, on which users seek money for creative or product-based ideas, has so far raised more than $340m (£211m) - with 5% of each successful pledge going to Kickstarter.
Until now, all new business on the site had come from accounts set up in the US.
The company tweeted back in July that they would be expanding further afield to the UK.
People in the UK will be able to launch projects on Kickstarter starting this autumn! More info soon! <3 <3 <3— Kickstarter (@kickstarter) July 9, 2012
In a statement to the BBC, Head of community, Yancey Strickler said that he planned to expand the site to other countries soon.
"The request to expand internationally has long been one of our most requested features," he told the BBC.
"We certainly are interested. We're going to see how the UK launch goes and figure out the next moves from there. There's a lot of places that will be interesting."
Kickstarter launched its crowd funding platform in 2009, and more than 70,000 projects have been pitched, with about 40% of those being successfully funded.
Businesses or individuals pitching on the site typically offer a range of perks in return for money.
Pledges can be anything from £1 to thousands of pounds.
Unlike traditional methods of backing new companies, investors on Kickstarter do not gain a share of the company, nor do they have any say in its future operation.
"I think the key thing is that backers need to be confident that the projects they're backing will raise enough money to complete the project they're envisaging," said Ben Holmes, a partner at London-based venture capital firm Index Ventures.
"What people are getting from Kickstarter is not equity. They're getting early access, or signed t-shirts and so on.
Similar websites, such as IndieGoGo and PleaseFund.Us, also offer the draw of crowdfunding to UK businesses, but are yet to gain the same widespread appeal as the American site.
"Although there are lots of other sites in the UK, none of them quite have the same credibility as Kickstarter," said Emilie Holmes, an entrepreneur who is launching her takeaway tea business using Kickstarter on Wednesday.
"I think it's because it's the cool factor. Kickstarter was the original - they're the classic tech start-up. They're cool young guys who had a great idea."
The UK government has backed alternative funding models, saying that it is important small businesses have access to finance sources beyond "conventional bank lending".
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "The Government is working with industry to support a range of new ways of lending, and the growth of innovative financing models like crowd funding is an exciting development."