Kickstarter Makes Itself Legally Bound to Pursue Public Benefit

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Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter has reincorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation, joining U.S. companies like Patagonia Inc. in legally enshrining the pursuit of social values in their business.

The service known for pooling funds from individual investors for electronic gadgets and movies has changed its name to Kickstarter PBC from Kickstarter Inc., the company said on its blog.

“More and more voices are rejecting business as usual, and the pursuit of profit above all,” the company said. “Positive impact on society becomes part of a Benefit Corporation’s legally defined goals.”

Founded in 2009, Kickstarter helped raise money for projects ranging from Pebble smartwatches to the “Veronica Mars” movie, taking a percentage of funds raised. The company said it joins Patagonia and This American Life in being legally obliged to pursue a “positive impact on society.”

“In our new charter we spell out our mission, our values, and the commitments we have made to pursue them,” it said. “There was not a single dissenting vote by a Kickstarter shareholder to re-incorporate as a Benefit Corporation.”

Among the pledges, Kickstarter’s charter requires it to donate 5 percent of post-tax profit to arts education and organizations fighting inequality.

“Kickstarter will not use loopholes or other esoteric but legal tax management strategies to reduce its tax burden,” the company’s charter said. Nor will it sell user data to third parties, it said.

Kickstarter’s change was reported earlier by the New York Times.

For more, read this QuickTake: Higher Stakes for Crowdfunding

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