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Rejected by Kickstarter? 'Roll your own' with Selfstarter instead

This new open source platform lets anyone launch an ad hoc crowdfunding site by simply forking its code.

There's been no shortage of controversy surrounding Kickstarter this year as the crowdfunding platform has gained popularity, prompting the institution of new rules and belt-tightening measures in recent months.

Now, however, there's a brand-new alternative: Meet Selfstarter, an open source platform that lets anyone "roll their own" crowdfunding effort by simply forking its code.

"Hardware startups are less welcome on Kickstarter than they were six months ago," explains the Selfstarter project. "We needed to roll our own Kickstarter, so we did. Other hardware startups probably will too, so we made it easier for them by open sourcing our way of doing it."

$1 million and counting

As pointed out in a Friday story on The H, Selfstarter was actually launched by the creators of Lockitron, a keyless entry system that's operated via mobile app. Lockitron itself was rejected by Kickstarter recently, inspiring its creators to make their own crowdfunding site and hope for the best.

Though Lockitron's funding goal was just $150,000, it surpassed $1 million in preorders within just a few days. As of today, it is approaching $2 million in funding.

Now, the technology that made Lockitron's success possible is available to anyone with a product idea of their own.

Set up for Amazon Payments

Selfstarter's code is available for anyone's use on GitHub along with instructions for getting started. By downloading the code, users get a rudimentary site to which they can add their own authentication, administration, and product management code.

Based on Ruby on Rails, the software delivers a site just like what Lockitron used, and it comes set up to collect reservations using Amazon Payments--users need only create an Amazon Seller Central account. They can, however, choose a different provider instead. Selfstarter recommends Stripe or WePay as good alternatives.

Perhaps best of all, Selfstarter is free to use and can be customized to your heart's content.

Have a great product idea? Rather than jump immediately to Kickstarter--or even Crowdtilt, another alternative that launched earlier this year--it might be worth taking a moment to check Selfstarter out.

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