As government funding for exploration dries up, private ventures are beginning to lead the way. But we can’t all get grants from National Geographic, or ask for handouts from Paul Allen.
Kickstarter.com is a ‘crowd funding’ website and a fast growing addition to the internet, labelled by Time magazine as one of the best inventions of 2010.
So far it is mainly used for raising funds for creative endeavours, such as music and movies. However, more and more technology based projects are being added and over the next few years Kickstarter has the potential evolve into a formidable resource for explorers and subsea technologists.
The idea is simple: fundraisers choose a deadline and minimum financial target to raise. If the goal is reached by the deadline, the funds can be collected by the project creators, if not, no funds are paid out. Simples!
Each fundraiser offers incentives to its pledgers; if you donate $10 you may receive a free shirt, $100 will get you a jacket, $1000 will get you a gold plated scuba statue and so on.
But the real draw however, is the project itself. A good, interesting and beneficial project stands a very good chance of investment. Your investors are internet users: kids, adults, businessmen, computer geeks, divers, hairdressers, anyone and everyone. The more appealing and beneficial a fundraising project, the better your chances of being funded. No one will support you to simply dive 1000 feet down in a submersible because you want to. But if you wish to build an ROV, send it into an unidentified shipwreck and tell the world about it, you may well be in luck.
In the near future, sites like this may well give people a kick start into the world of exploration, either as a fundraiser, or as someone interested in supporting the expeditions others undertake. As of today there are only a few scuba related projects, most of which have been sucesfully funded. There are however thousand of other interesting investment opportunities worthy of a browse.
For more information visit www.kickstarter.com
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