In an announcement via the site, crowdsourcing platform Kickstarter stated that it is now a Public Benefit Corporation.
What does that mean exactly?
Kickstarter is bucking the capitalist path of maximizing shareholder value and making sweet fistfuls of cash just for the sake of making sweet fistfuls of cash to become a company that focuses on the greater public good.
“Kickstarter is excited to join a growing list of forward-thinking organizations — like Patagonia and This American Life — that have taken the big step to become a Benefit Corporation,” wrote Kickstarter’s co-founders Yancey Strickler, Perry Chen and Charles Adler in the open letter.
“While only about .01% of all American businesses have done this, we believe that can and will change in the coming years. More and more voices are rejecting business as usual, and the pursuit of profit above all.”
As the New York Times reports, Brooklyn-based Kickstarter could have sold or gone public by now, “earning millions of dollars for themselves and other shareholders,” but instead decided to go the Public Benefit route to “ensure that money — or the promise of it — would not corrupt their company’s mission of enabling creative projects to be funded.”
“We don’t ever want to sell or go public,” Strickler told the Times. “That would push the company to make choices that we don’t think are in the best interest of the company.”
Public Benefit companies are fairly new, and Kickstarter is reincorporating in Delaware, which allows PBCs. The B designation means that the company has to consider the public into its decision-making practices and report on its social and environmental impact, according to the Times.
Other companies like Warby Parker and Etsy have also chosen to become B companies.
Kickstarter is still a for-profit company and can sell or go public, it just has to operate under “greater transparency” for the greater public good.
The company already is dedicated to supporting “arts and culture,” and donates 5 percent of its annual post-tax profits to arts education and orgs that fight inequality, the Kickstarter co-founders wrote in the letter.
“Every year, we’ll release an assessment of how we’re performing on the commitments we’ve made,” they write.
Companies that don’t only care about making money? What an absolutely brilliant concept.