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The rise of Kickstarter as a new funding source for entrepreneurial ideas has been one of the most fascinating stories to watch over the past few months. But just how big of an impact is it having?

VentureBeat’s Ben Popper takes an inside look, crunching some numbers and reporting that the crowdfunding site is on pace to help various entrepreneurial projects raise about $300 million. That’s more than triple last year’s haul.

Just to put that number in a bit of perspective. Today’s MoneyTree report — which tracks venture capital investing — shows $5.8 billion invested during the first quarter alone in the U.S. In Washington state, the total stands at $167 million for the quarter.

Nonetheless, Kickstarter is on the rise, and entrepreneurs love it since they don’t have to sacrifice precious equity in order to see if their ideas will catch on. Not a day goes by now without GeekWire getting at least one pitch from some new entrepreneurial group that’s promoting a new campaign.

And the funding platform is actually churning out some successes, most notably in the Seattle area with Jordan Weisman’s Kickstarter campaign for Shadowrun Returns. With eight days to go, Weisman’s effort has reeled in more than $1.2 million from more than 27,000 backers.

Even more amazing, the Pebble Smartwatch has raised a whopping $5.5 million from more than 38,000 backers with 28 days to go in the campaign.

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