Yale UniversityKickstarter is an online resource for funding projects of all sizes through donations at different price levels. Since it launched in 2009, 6.8 million people have pledged $1 billion to fund 67,000 creative projects on the site. Past successful Yale Kickstarter campaigns include Chairigami, which raised more than $50,000 for its cardboard standing desks, and the Treehouse at Yale which raised more than $10,000 to build The Lau Treehouse in the Yale Myers forest.
“In keeping with President Salovey’s inaugural theme of creating a more innovative Yale, we are very pleased to be launching the Yale curated page on Kickstarter to help entrepreneurial members of the Yale community of scholars turn big ideas into reality,” says Steven Girvin, Deputy Provost for Science and Technology and Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics and Applied Physics.
Associate Professor of Medicine Lynn Fiellin, who was instrumental in bringing the Yale curated page to fruition, says Kickstarter and the curated page is a perfect home for the diverse range of Yale innovations and startups. “Crowdfunding and the Yale curated page give us a platform to feature the unique and varied products and projects being developed by Yale students and faculty,” Fiellin says. “Not only does it provide the opportunity to fund these projects but it also allows the larger community to see what is being created here at Yale.”
Fiellin worked on her own startup, p2P Games, during a summer fellowship at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI), which is developing interactive video games to address critical health and societal issues, including HIV prevention.
The Yale curated page is being launched simultaneously with a new Kickstarter campaign from Yale startup LabCandy, a social enterprise venture that participated in a 2013 fellowship at YEI. LabCandy aims to get more young girls excited about science through products ranging from colorful, stylish lab wear to interactive science adventure storybooks. Recent Yale College graduate Emily Monjaraz provided the book’s engaging illustrations.
“When most people close their eyes and picture a scientist,” says LabCandy founder and CEO Olivia Pavco-Giaccia (YC ’16), “they think of someone who looks like Albert Einstein. That image isn’t very interesting or relatable to a young girl. I founded LabCandy to encourage young girls to imagine themselves as scientists—creating, collaborating and having fun. Our characters are smart and spunky role models designed to welcome the next generation of girls to the world of STEM. “
Jim Boyle, Managing Director of YEI, says LabCandy is indicative of many Yale ventures which combine a social mission with a creative solution and are perfect candidates for Kickstarter. “More and more often we see cool ideas that could really catch on, but which first need some working capital and a quick test of the market's willingness to adopt a new product,” Boyle says. “We hope to see crowdfunding become yet another tool in the university's innovation culture, not only for YEI ventures such as LabCandy but for all innovators at Yale."