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Kickstarter Limits Foreign Entrepreneurs

Kickstarter logoKickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Recently, I have seen a surge of interest among foreign companies wishing to set up Kickstarter projects in the US. This post discusses the challenges those companies will face.

Kickstarter Creator Requirements

Kickstarter states the following concerning Who can use Kickstarter (updated November 24, 2017):

Kickstarter is open to backers all over the world.

Project creation is currently available to individuals in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mexico, and Japan who meet the requirements below.

  1. You are 18 years of age or older.*
  2. You are a permanent resident of one of the above listed eligible countries.
  3. You are creating a project in your own name, or on behalf of a registered legal entity with which you are affiliated.
  4. You have an address, bank account, and government-issued ID based in the country that you’re creating a project in.**
  5. If running your project as an individual, the linked bank account must belong to the person who verified their identity for your project.
  6. You have a major credit or debit card.***

*People under the age of 18 can launch projects only in collaboration with an adult or guardian that meets these listed requirements. The adult will need to verify their identity, enter their banking information in project build, and assume the responsibilities for fulfillment of the project, listed in our Terms of Use.

**Citizens of the E.U. are welcome to use a government-issued ID from any E.U. country (such as an E.U. passport, etc.). Note: your project must be run in an E.U. country that is eligible on Kickstarter.

***Citizens of Canada must have a major credit card.

Want to be notified if your country becomes available? Click here!

Even if they can create Kickstarter projects in their home countries, many foreign entrepreneurs wish to create projects in the US because of the size of the market and the availability of venture capital for further growth.

Requirement #1 (the creator must be an adult) makes sense because minors generally can disaffirm contracts. See Contracts with Minors can Lead to Major Problems.

Greatest Kickstarter Challenges

Requirements #2 and 4 present the greatest challenges for foreign entrepreneurs.

  • A foreign entrepreneur (typically) is not a permanent US resident (requirement #2).
  • Similarly, a foreign entrepreneur (typically) lacks a US address, bank account and government-issued identification (requirement #4).

These Kickstarter requirements mean that, as a practical matter, that a foreign entrepreneur will need either a business associate or a trusted business advisor, such as an accountant, living in the US.

If that associate or advisor can take care of requirements #2 and 4, then requirements #3, 5 and 6 should not be too great a problem.

In summary, if you want to take advantage of Kickstarter in the US but you do not reside here, you will need someone in the US to help you put all of the required pieces in place.

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law  +1 510 547-0545  dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.