Jason J. Gullickson

Jason J. Gullickson

Pullstarter - Crowd-sourced funding for ideas

You’re probably familiar with Kickstarter (if not, click over there and we’ll be here when you get back).  Kickstarter is a prime example of a Crowdfunding site used to raise money for projects without the overhead of traditional investment.

This is a good thing, and many cool projects have received funding through Kickstarter campaigns, and it’s been great for people who want to make something and just need the funding to see it through.  But what if you just have an idea?

Conversely, what if you just love to build stuff but don’t know what you should build, how to find an audience or how to value one idea over another?

I’ve had a number of people come to me with these same questions, and after conversations with trusted advisors the idea behind Pullstarter was born.

How Pullstarter works:

  1. You list and idea for something, and how much you’d be willing to pay for it

  2. Other users who are interested in the same idea bid on it as well

  3. When the bids get high enough, a Maker takes on the project

  4. When the project is delivered, the Maker is paid and the bidders get what they wanted

An example:

I want a flying bicycle, and I’d be willing to pay $500.00 for one.  So I create a new idea on Pullstarter and provide some details about what I want.

Who doesn't need a flying bicycle? Who doesn’t need a flying bicycle?

My idea gets added to the list of ideas displayed on the site:

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 4.58.41
PM Let the bidding commence!

Then Bob logs in and sees my idea.  He likes it too, but it’s only worth $300.00 to him.  He bids on the bicycle idea and now it’s worth $800.00 to whoever can complete it.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 5.01.00 PM

Other users may join in the bidding, some may just “follow” the project to see what happens, and a summary of ideas, following and bidding is displayed while they are logged into the site.

Eventually, the value of the project reaches $1M which gets the attention of Julia, who just happens to want to build a flying bicycle but never thought anyone else would want one.  She looks at the number of bids (586) and divides this by the value of the idea and decides that yes, she could produce 586 flying bicycles with $1M.

Now, placing a bid is a legal commitment, so Julia knows if she can deliver the bikes she will receive the funds so she takes on the risk of securing the necessary credit, etc. to product the product and fill the orders.

Julia develops the bikes and delivers the first one to me (since it was my idea).  I love it and consider her product acceptable, Julia delivers the remaining bicycles and the funds are released to her account.

This is of course a rather dramatic example, and clever makers will take on ideas that they can carry out without having to beg or borrow too much to put together the product.  But I used big numbers because they are more exciting.

If you think this is an interesting idea, leave a comment and we can discuss. Awhile back I spent a couple hours and threw together a prototype for the system which you can check out on Github:


I’d love to hear what you think about it.