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Kickstarter has become synonymous with crowdfunding; enabling ordinary people to fund creative projects they care about. As well as disrupting a range of industries, Kickstarter is also a model of how to combine business with social responsibility. Yancey speaks about lessons from taking Kickstarter from idea to a global, game-changing company. He explains his four lessons for leading an innovative, disruptive organisation, and takes a determinedly optimistic view of the the commercial, social and political effects of the tech sector and business more broadly.
Yancey is the co-founder and former CEO of Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. The company raised nearly $3 billion in less than a decade and has become both one of the best known tech startups and a by-word for a new form fundraising.
Kickstarter was founded with a simple principle: to help the people behind creative projects to raise funds from those that believe in them. Projects from films and albums to food and technology businesses have been funded by fans and potential customers. In the process Kickstarter has disrupted not just the likes of the music business, but also traditional investment models.
Despite being a part of the digital boom that has seen many companies grow exponentially and make billionaires of their founders, Kickstarter has remained true to their founding principles. Yancey and his partners established the company to help bring creative projects to life without the constraints of finance or big businesses. This has inspired a conversation about companies’ principles, the influence of their peers, and how they contribute to society
After a period as Editor in Chief of eMusic, Yancey and his co-founders Perry Chan and Charles Adler started Kickstarter. Initially serving as Head of Community and Head of Communications, Yancey then became CEO. Under his leadership Kickstarter became a Public Benefit Corporation (PBC), a designation which means the company must put ethics and social good at the heart of the business, on at least equal footing with its financial obligations to shareholders.
Yancey considers the lessons learned in taking Kickstarter from an idea to a global company. He explains his four rules for leading a disruptive, innovative business as well as where new ideas come from and how they can take on a life of their own. Encompassing the commercial, social and political he reflects on the future of the tech sector, whilst being defiantly optimistic in the face of doom-laden views from all sides.
Having left Kickstarter after more than a decade, Yancey now writes, works with startups, and advises organisations, including the Tokyo Olympics. He is the author of This Could Be Our Future: A Manifesto for a More Generous World, a positive look at the serious limitations of the current economic and social systems, and how they could be refocused to enable greater opportuinty and equality. He has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People, listed among Vanity Fair’s New Establishment, appointed a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, and received a Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award from the Tribeca Film Festival.
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Yancey Strickler Conference Speaker