Many local entrepreneurs are going online to get financial help from perfect strangers for their startup business. That's what Volga Aksoy, of Orlando, did.
He demonstrates how he navigates asteroids with Blackspace, an out-of-this-world video game created by Pixel Foundry, the company he launched with business partner Jerry Phaneuf.
"You run a small mining company. You're trying to grow, mine all the asteroids and protect yourself against an opposing force coming and trying to destroy you," said Aksoy, whose company sought to raise $350,000 on the website Kickstarter.com.
Also in Orlando, Croy Bosch is peddling Pockkit, a concept T-shirt company where technology meets design. "People get to chose their style of shirt, crew neck, V-neck, tank top and then choose the fabric, style and shape of the pocket," said Bosch.
These two very different sets of up-and-coming business leaders have one thing in common -- both are relying on Kickstarter to get their products from dream phase to market.
They say Kickstarter provides an ever growing audience, where aspiring business men and women pitch their products to potential financial pledgers.
Kickstarter gives each business 30 days to reach their target. But there is a catch. Here on Kickstarter, it's all or nothing. A pledge, not an investment.
Pockkit set a $10,000 fundraising goal. By Halloween, Pockkit managed to raise $10,520 and will use the money to finish developing their website.
"They're not investing for a percentage or stock or any of that," said Bosch. "It's more we believe in the project. There's something to it. We're intrigued by it."
Bosch promised to reward backers who gave $10 with a hand-written "Thank You" note; $30 backers get a custom designed T-shirt.
Pixel Foundry asked for quite a bit more, $350,000. While 4,150 backers pledged a total of $134,959, they fell short of their goal and won't get that money. But Kickstarter gave them a more clear vision of their target market. And possibly most important, Kickstarter feedback has given the video game developers the courage to stretch their savings and keep going.
And they're going to try Kickstarter again using the lessons they learned.
Click here to see the projects Orlando entrepreneurs are raising money for on Kickstarter.