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Kickstarter crowdfunding platform to launch in UK

The crowdfunding market could be hotting up

Kickstarter, the US-based crowdfunding platform for start-ups, is set to launch in the UK later this year, according to the company's Twitter feed.

Until now, only companies with a US bank account were able to set up Kickstarter fund-raising projects. The official move into the UK would mean that this is no longer a requirement.

"People in the UK will be able to launch projects on Kickstarter starting this autumn!" read the tweet from the official Kickstarter account. "More info soon!"

Kickstarter allows start-ups to crowdsource funding from friends, family and third-part investors for specific projects. Entrepreneurs can set up a web page with a deadline and a goal minimum of funds to raise. Money pledged by donors is collected using Amazon Payments.

Anyone can pledge to invest in the company, but if the chosen goal is not gathered by the deadline, no funds are collected. Kickstarter takes 5% of the funds raised and Amazon charges an additional 3-5%.

Since launching in 2009, Kickstarter has had more than $230 million pledged, and more than 23,000 successfully funded projects. Its most famous so far is the Pebbel watch, which attracted nearly 70,000 backers and over $10 million.

The news follows the launch last week of the Seedrs crowdfunding platform in the UK. Seedrs allows entrepreneurs to create a free listing for their start-up, stating how much money they are looking to raise in exchange for a percentage of equity.

Unlike Kickstarter, Seedrs continues to manage the equity on behalf of the investors, acting as a middleman to broker the relationship between the start-up and investor. The firm is authorised and regulated by the Financial Service Authorities (FSA).

The company takes 7.5% of all funds raised by start-ups, as well as 7.5% of any return that investors make beyond their initial level of funding.

The sudden emergence of crowdfunding platforms in the UK seems to be a response to the apparent shortage of specialised technology financiers. A recent think tank report on London's 'Tech City' cluster highlighted that many UK start-ups are being forced to go to the US for funding.

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