We’re all familiar with the hoped-for trajectory of most tech startups: several rounds of funding followed by an exit through acquisition or IPO. Crowdfunding firm Kickstarter has taken the bold move of aiming for neither of those conclusions: reincorporating the company this weekend as a “public benefit corporation” to ensure that the company’s motivations must remain more about social impact than lucrative exits to come.
“We don’t ever want to sell or go public,” CEO Yancey Strickler told the New York Times. “That would push the company to make choices that we don’t think are in the best interest of the company.” As the report notes, being a public benefit corporation doesn’t rule out selling up or going public if Strickler and his colleagues change their minds; nor does it mean Kickstarter can’t make profits.
In fact, the company has turned a profit of between $5m and $10m for each of the last three years according to its founders. Co-founder Perry Chen hopes more startups will follow Kickstarter’s lead: “As younger companies come up and think about how they operate and how they want to be structured, maybe they won’t be so easily swept up by all the usual choices.”