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Rather than go public or sell out, Kickstarter becomes a public benefit corp

Rather than go public or sell out, Kickstarter becomes a public benefit corp

September 21, 2015 | By Alex Wawro

"We don’t ever want to sell or go public. That would push the company to make choices that we don’t think are in the best interest of the company."

- Kickstarter CEO and co-founder Yancey Strickler.

Over the weekend Kickstarter announced that it was reorganizing itself as a "public benefit corporation," a relatively new corporate designation that entails (among other things) spelling out a mission of public benefit in its corporate charter and making regular social impact reports to the public.

This will likely have little practical impact on game developers who use Kickstarter to fund their projects; the company is pitching the switch more as a visible example of its mission to be a transparent platform for creators to drum up support for their ideas.

"There’s a huge difference between a values document and the legal foundation of your company," Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen told The New York Times."It’s allowed us to find people who have a similar idealism."

The Times goes on to note that Kickstarter has actually already begun making yearly public accountings of its operations due to its decision earlier this year to become a "B Corporation," outpacing the expectation that public benefits corporations (PBC) make public reports every two years.

However, it's also worth noting that Kickstarter is still a for-profit company and nothing about this reorganization prevents it from going public or selling itself to a buyer at a later date.

For more details on the change and exactly how Kickstarter plans to have positive social impact, check out the company's blog post on the topic.

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