KickStarter has emerged as an awesome way to validate product ideas and get the capital to launch those ideas. One of my friends, who works in the non-profit realm, first brought KickStarter to my attention as a new form of crowd charitable giving. I tucked the site into my bookmark list as a potential way to do a new product pre-sale or method of raising capital.
These ideas were realized and then some by the Glif phenonmon. A pair of independent designers raised/sold $137,417 worth of iPhone 4 tripod mounts in 60 days! This was repeated just recently by the Waldok, which raised/sold $76,491. In this case people effectively pre-purchased an innovative iPod speaker/dock. In both cases the inventors got more than enough money to meet their capital needs and produce the promised number of units.
One of the biggest fears of the innovator is whether enough people will actually buy his or her great idea. Kickstarter can easily answer that question and also answer the next nagging question — where do I get the $10 to $100k to design, tool, test and produce my product?
edit: Kickstarter had its 10,000th successful project and now gathers $5 million every month