I recently got into collecting playing cards on Kickstarter. Lately, for that segment of the buying public, and producers catering to them, it has become a "pre-sell" avenue for those who want an immediate profit for a new product.
I've looked into other projects, and it does look like a viable way to raise money for new ventures, or support something you believe in. You can create new product without having to search for investors. You can know ahead of time if you will have the capital to invest, and depending on your level of pre-planning and development, you may not have to invest much more than a bit of creative energy and market research, before raking in the dough. Of course there are all levels of pre-production work represented, depending on the amount of initial capital (physical and intellectual) the person already has invested. Some obviously have a better plan than others.
My problem with Kickstarter, in general, is they have no Guarantee of completion of a project. If you invest, and are expecting a product, like a physical deck of cards, in my case, or a fancy cool new gadget, which was promised an an "award" for backing, you have only the word of the project creator that it will be fulfilled. Kickstarter does no vetting or even much research into the projects.
If Kickstarter gets their 5%, that's the last you hear of it. As soon as a project is funded, you are now dealing with the creator of the project.
Out of the 20 or so projects I've invested in ($1 - $70) I have at least 1 that I am not expecting a fulfillment of the project's obligations. They have had poor communication, and even poorer excuses.
At present, there is one project that has been in the media at least a bit. You can find more out about it by searching "Founders Deck, Kickstarter, fraud"
Buyer Beware, and all that...
Edited to add: Apparently they do not allow projects for "weapons" of any kind, though I've seen a few "tactical pen" type projects. Absolutely no knife projects, and I've searched several times...
I've recently started doing the same thing, Daniel. Collecting playing cards that is. I've been enjoying using kickstarter but it is definitely on the potential buyer, funder, whatever, to do his or her due diligence. KS just wants their cut and seems not to do anything regarding fraud up front, or lack of fulfillment after the fact, unless enough of the community makes the sort of noise to attract media attention.
I reported a high tech product that was local to me as likely fraud. The website was registered to a known felon and owner of an escort agency, the front men were a secretary for a veterinary clinic and some guy off the street who looked like he just got out of bed and was having trouble with his lines, and the majority of photos they used traced back to alibaba. They claimed to have a physical address, a factory, to be incorporated and trademarked, etc. and had none of it that could be found anywhere. They ended up cancelling on their own, and went to Indiegogo where they could make use of flexible funding (ie, "we have a goal but want your money whether we meet it or not") I heard nothing from KS, not even a canned response.
It is buyer beware all the way, but you can also find a bunch of interesting stuff there.
ETA: I heard about the "Founders" deck that Daniel Dorn mentioned. "1st Created, 0 backed". I think it's a good rule not to fund projects that say this, at least not unless the creator has a serious web presence and is putting himself personally out there. He'd backed others before, but Jody Eklund and his "Golden Spike" deck come to mind as an example of this.
I've contributed to several products through Kickstarter. I've never had anyone not come through but over half of them have been late with product/premiums. But - that's what you're getting into. You are funding someone so they can start a business or at least venture. Sometimes they know exactly what they are doing and sometimes they don't. Also, in inventors start finding out what works and doesn't work as they go into production. I funded an oil tester. When they started production they found out that one of their suppliers wasn't reliable. Then they found out that something they had selected to go into their item wasn't durable enough. Then code had to be rewritten and verified and tested and ... but I eventually got my gizmo. Another guy that made magnetic comic boards finally got my item to me but was two years overdue and I'm not sure that he's 100% fulfilled yet.
You pays your money and takes your chances.
Caveat Emptor and all that.
Oh, and if you read the rules - they don't fund projects that make what they consider weapons. Knives, guns, etc. I looked into it as a possible way to do the 2014 Traditionals Forum knife this year but it is explicitly stated in the rules that that is unacceptable. I've seen projects where they might do posters with knife content, but not the actual knife.