Kickstarting East End Businesses

Lack of cash hamstrings lots of business projects. That’s why many people use the nonprofit Kickstarter, an online fundraising platform that allows people with creative ideas to attract “backers” to fund unique projects.

Rewards like this Condzella Hops mug are what backers get in exchange for their pledges. Depending on the size of a donation, rewards can range from a sticker to a homemade dinner!

Kassata Bollman used Kickstarter to raise $4,233 for Farm 2 Kitchen Long Island. Farm 2 Kitchen has what Kassata calls “farm to door service” through an online farmers market. Buyers can use the weekly newsletter or the website to choose what fresh produce and artisanal items they want delivered to their door. The Kickstarter funds contributed to the development of the Farm 2 Kitchen website, the purchase of reusable cooler delivery bags, dry gel cooler packs, warehouse space, and advertising, as well as legal startup fees.

Renowned chef Keith Luce raised $51,090 on Kickstarter to build a smokehouse for North Fork Market Artisan Curing. Humanely treated Mangalitsa pigs are raised free-range on Luce’s family farm in Greenport, where Luce plans to build the smokehouse.

“We want you to help us plant some weird grapes,” Regan Meador says on his Kickstarter video. Meador’s aim to “bring wine grape diversity to the North Fork” clearly resonated with people; the $24,906 raised far exceeded their goal of $15,000. Southold Farm & Cellar will start with seven acres and plant rare varieties of grapes, “because seriously, who needs more Chardonnay and Merlot?”

John Condzella’s total funds raised also exceeded expectations. Condzella’s Farm raised $30,398 (more than $3,000 north of their goal) to purchase a Wolf WHE 140 Hopfen Pflückmaschine, or in layman’s terms, a hops harvesting machine. Condzella says that rapid harvesting and timing precision are critical to producing a high quality product for local breweries, and that this “crucial standard cannot be met by hand-picking.”

If a project’s fundraising goal is met, as it was for these four projects, Kickstarter collects 5% of the total amount raised. The funds raised on Kickstarter are subject to taxes, but most project-related expenses are tax deductible. Neither the backers nor Kickstarter have ownership of the projects.