A couple of weeks ago, Lloyd’s Taco Truck began a Kickstarter program in order to raise enough money to make a down payment on a second truck. They have just under 20 days to go, and are about 1/2 the way there.
But people have denigrated Lloyd for seeking a “handout”, and expressing disapproval over a for-profit company “begging” for money from people without, e.g., offering a share in the business.
So, here’s a fact-check.
1. If you don’t want to participate in the Kickstarter, you don’t have to. No one’s making you.
2. Kickstarter was created precisely so that for-profit entities can raise funding that they can’t come up with themselves, and can’t get a traditional loan for, so that the path from idea to reality is made easier.
3. If you click on the prominent link at the top of the Kickstarter page, you discover this self-explanatory text:
Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. Every week, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields.
A new form of commerce and patronage. This is not about investment or lending. Project creators keep 100% ownership and control over their work. Instead, they offer products and experiences that are unique to each project.
All or nothing funding. On Kickstarter, a project must reach its funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands. Why? It protects everyone involved. Creators aren’t expected to develop their project without necessary funds, and it allows anyone to test concepts without risk.
Each and every project is the independent creation of someone like you. Projects are big and small, serious and whimsical, traditional and experimental. They’re inspiring, entertaining and unbelievably diverse. We hope you agree… Welcome to Kickstarter!
4. So, it’s specifically for creative projects, including food projects, is completely voluntary, and frankly will enable a very good, very popular local food business to expand by one truck and better serve customers.
5. If you think Lloyd’s has made a lot of money in its first year, what with legal wrangling over city permitting, limited locations to set up, crappy weather during the winter of ’10 – ’11, and occasional truck problems, you’re wrong. It’s a tough slog, and no one’s getting rich. They need twelve grand to buy a new truck and expand – if you like tacos, you may choose to give them money and get a thank you gift in exchange – it’s win-win, as Lloyd’s gets to go more places, and you get to eat more Lloyd’s.
6. Thousands of for-profit projects exist on Kickstarter, all of which can be subjected to the same criticism as Lloyds, yet there they are. I mean, do you need a device that will remotely print stuff people tag on Instagram? Probably not, but if you’d like one, or like to see one on the market, here you go. $100,000 worth of people have donated.
7. Everyone just relax. It’s a taco truck. I’m a fan, and I’ve participated in the Kickstarter because I’d like there to be another one to patronize. Because the Lloyd’s guys are friends of mine, their food is good, and they’re pioneers of sorts. Other people have pledged money for their own reasons. If you don’t think it’s fair or right, then don’t participate. What I don’t understand is the outrage and, frankly, hatred I’ve seen in many online comments about this program. Even here at Artvoice, the weekly arrow up/arrow down roundup gave Lloyd’s an arrow down because they have the nerve to use an online funding service in exactly the way it’s intended to be used in order to ask fans for money they can’t raise any other way, at least not now.
8. Lloyd’s isn’t the first local for-profit food-based business to use Kickstarter to help fund its growth and expansion, yet it’s the first to get a barrage of criticism.