An indie film, the new album by one of your favorite artists, technology, and a delicious foodstuff. What do they all have in common? That their funding came through the website Kickstarter. Founded in 2008, Kickstarter is one of the leading platforms for crowdfunding, which is funding provided by a group of people who pool their money rather than funding provided by a single entity. Since its inception, Kickstarter has helped to crowdfund more than 15,000 successful projects with $125 million pledged.

Unlike some crowdfunding models, Kickstarter institutes a threshold amount that must be met or surpassed in a set amount of time or else the project will not receive any money. This threshold amount is set by the project leaders, who often offer other incentives to entice donors to pledge. Kickstarter itself receives five percent of the total funds raised, and its payment collection partner, Amazon Payments, receives another three to five percent.

Whther or not Kickstarter is truly the future of small-scale project funding, remains to be seen. But for the project leaders who have used it successfully, it is an indispensable tool to help make their dreams a reality.