Crowdfunding is taking a serious hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A Kickstarter internal memo from CEO Aziz Hasan obtained by The Verge indicates that new projects have dropped by 35 percent year-over-year with “no clear sign of rebound.” The steep drop has led to the company discussing “potential layoffs” with the Kickstarter employee union and finding ways to cut expenses, including cutting pay for management, capping new hires and being selective when filling newly vacant positions.
Hasan acknowledged that employees were “shouldering some part” of the uncertainty, and vowed to get through the situation “thoughtfully and transparently” to ease concerns as much as possible. The goal was to ensure Kickstarter was supporting creators and others for “the years ahead,” not just during pandemic lockdowns.
We’ve asked Kickstarter for comment.
The company has been making an effort to foster projects, including a program for small, made-at-home creations. However, its situation underscores the challenges crowdfunding faces while COVID-19 remains an issue. Many projects can’t be finished remotely, and those that can may have trouble getting backers (due to higher unemployment) and suppliers. Kickstarter and its rivals might not bounce back until society starts to reopen, and there’s still no guarantee that backers will be ready and waiting when that recovery happens.