Kickstarter CEO Everette Taylor joins Yahoo Finance Live to talk about crowdfunding campaigns amid inflation and recession concerns and his plans for the company as the new chief executive.
- Speaking of fresh ideas, equity crowdfunding is seeing continued growth, as access to venture capital dollars becomes more and more scarce. Now, according to crowdfunding tracker, Aurora Project, startups already raise more than $200 million this year. Well, joining us now is an expert in crowdfunding and the new CEO of Kickstarter, Everette Taylor. Everette, great to have you on the show. So fresh in the job here. First off, what made you decide to take it? And what sort of changes or developments are you hoping that you're going to kick off here at Kickstarter?
EVERETTE TAYLOR: Well, thank you, first, for having me. It's an honor to be here. And it was really exciting time to come to Kickstarter, especially in this current macroeconomic environment, where access to capital is more difficult than ever. And a lot of people that are starting new things may not fit for the traditional venture capitalist or traditional investor. And so for me, I feel very aligned with the mission of Kickstarter.
For one, I'm from South Side Richmond, Virginia, where I didn't have a lot of resources growing up. So to be able to be at a platform to help people's dreams come true and bring beautiful things into the world and impact so many lives, it was a no-brainer.
- What are you seeing just in terms of people starting businesses right now, especially in this current state of the downturn that we're seeing in the economy? So many people worried about inflation, higher prices. Is that affecting the number of people that are looking to start with their business right now?
EVERETTE TAYLOR: I think so. I think a lot of people are fearful of the macroeconomic environment. And you see it from big companies to small entrepreneurs that want to launch their own companies. And I think what was so exciting about coming to Kickstarter, it provides a way for people to be able to find capital for the ideas that they have. And things that may not be big businesses like venture capitalists tend to want to have huge returns. And most businesses aren't that way. And so I think it's incredible to be at a platform that can help so many entrepreneurs during a time of so much uncertainty and be able to provide them a viable way to really bring that into life.
- And now, we're looking at some of the companies on the screen, the Oculus and Pebble that actually started out on Kickstarter. I still remember when Kickstarter was first starting up, people were getting bids on you being able to, like, make a grilled cheese sandwich or a potato salad. But, obviously, as you see these different companies advance, what do you think the evolution is going to be next year? If things like blockchain and other elements coming into play, how do you see the company evolving to some of these new technologies that are coming out?
EVERETTE TAYLOR: You know, it's interesting. Even when I was listening before, I saw you guys talking about Peloton. Peloton was even started on Kickstarter. So a lot of really technologically forward companies have started on Kickstarter. So I think we're going to embrace that. I think we're going to embrace the evolution of the world around us. And I'm really open to new types of companies, new types of projects.
And I'm coming into this crowdfunding industry with a very open mind. I just really want to be able to see people bring the things that they want to into life and have a viable platform to do so. But I think we're going to be extremely supportive of new technologies and new things that are happening around the world.
- Everette, in terms of your business right now, hiring plans, how you see Kickstarter growing over the years, what does that look like? And are you able to get the number of workers that you need for Kickstarter?
EVERETTE TAYLOR: Oh, I think so. I think what's so interesting about Kickstarter and is exciting, it allowed me to brag and flex for a second, is that Kickstarter has a really great balance sheet right now. We're profitable. The past couple of years in the pandemic were our best years yet. We actually grew 30% during the pandemic, which is a lot for such an established company.
And so I think we're in a great place to aggressively hire, but to do so in the right ways. I think what we've seen in this macroeconomic environment is that so many companies were a little bit careless when it came to hiring, and over hiring, and bloated salaries, and things like that. So we've been very intentional thus far. And I want to continue to be intentional. But I want us to see a lot more massive growth. Crowdfunding has so much potential. And I want to continue to grow the industry to support more people, especially diverse creators out there. And then, also welcoming more Gen-z creators as well.
- And Everette, as people look for transparency in what they're funding and when some of these things come into fruition, what sort of investments are you making in that space to really make it a place, where people will know exactly what they're sort of getting into with these sort of projects?
EVERETTE TAYLOR: Yeah, pledge management is a huge component about Kickstarter. Obviously, Kickstarter is the dominant player in the space in terms of driving that demand to get to that point. But then, what happens after? And that's where pledge management comes into. And so I think Kickstarter will definitely be looking into that and figuring out ways that we can make our creators more successful. Because if we're helping our creators be more successful in helping with their fulfillment, then the backers on our platform are going to have a lot better experiences. And so that is a key priority for me.
- All right, Everette Taylor, great to have you. Kickstarter CEO, we wish you all the best. We hope you.