Toy start-ups turn to Kickstarter

How crowdfunding lets inventors launch toys that otherwise wouldn't hit shelves.
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More and more small toy businesses are using sites like Kickstarter to acquire funding and bring their products to market.

The crowdfunding website has seen a number of fresh toys manufactured and shipped, including Atoms (pictured), a system of plug-n-play sensors, motors and logic blocks for kids and adults “to make things that do amazing things”.

For example, kids can use Atoms to make LEGO garage doors open, or make a plush toy move.

Many toys have arrived in the US thanks to Kickstarter, but UK start-ups can also use the site.

"I don’t think it is [disrupting the toy industry by cutting out retail]," Kickstarter's Justin Kazmark told ToyNews.

"If anything, for instance the board game category, we’ve heard anecdotally on board game blogs that Kickstarter has been a boon to creators – people who have ideas for games and want funding for them.

"They can go directly to their audience [to seek funding], they don’t have to go to the manufacturer. It allows for more creativity to exist because there’s another avenue.

"The other ways to get funding still exist, we’re not taking their place, we’re just joining this broader ecosystem of funding for creative ideas."

Since its launch in April 2009, over £290 million has been pledged by more than 2.5 million people on Kickstarter, funding more than 80,000 different creative projects. 

A crowdfunding site for kids products has also emerged – Jumpoff

“We have seen over the last few years less and less choice in product at retail,” says Jumpoff co-founder Rhett Power. 

“We believe crowdfunding and Jumpoff will change the toy industry by giving small designers and inventors a chance to get projects funded, noticed and in the marketplace.”

Read the full feature on Kickstarter, how it works and how it's affecting the toy industry, here.

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