Potato salad Kickstarter project closes with over US$55,000 in funding

6 Aug 2014

No, Siliconrepublic.com has not nicked a headline from Waterford Whispers News: a Kickstarter project really did just score more than US$55,000 to make potato salad.

The Potato Salad project was started by Zack ‘Danger’ Brown on 3 July with a modest target of US$10 to fund his first effort at making potato salad. It closed on 2 August with 6,911 backers and US$55,492 to its name.

Helped along by plenty of media attention – amounting to 2,068 mentions in 54 countries, according to Meltwater – the project became the fourth most viewed in Kickstarter’s short history, beaten only by popular campaigns for the Ouya console, the Pebble smartwatch and the Veronica Mars movie.

Even more noteworthy is that this position ranks potato salad above the Oculus Rift, the virtual-reality headset that prompted Facebook’s US$2bn acquisition of start-up Oculus VR.

Potato salad is loved the world over

The average amount pledged by the vast number of crowdfunders willing to part with their cash for the sake of a laugh (or a bite!) was US$8.03, and 17.6pc of this funding came from Brown’s home state, Ohio. But that’s not to downplay the potato salad’s international appeal, as backers in 74 countries got behind this project, with the Norwegians providing the highest average pledge of US$12.

So, what will Brown do with his tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of potato salad? He plans to hold a PotatoStock 2014 event in Columbus, Ohio, this September and share it with everyone who can make it.

We’re going to need a bigger bowl

While a stunt like this is surely a one-off that can’t be replicated (though a number of crowdfunding hopefuls have tried), Kickstarter has pivoted Brown’s success as testament to the potential of the platform and to encourage budding entrepreneurs to dream big when it comes to crowdfunding.

“Kickstarter is a good place to aim high and go big, but small projects are great, too. If you want to make something to share with others, maybe you just need 10 or 20 or 50 people to get your idea off the ground. And if it turns out that 6,911 people share your vision for potato salad … then you’re going to need some more potatoes,” wrote Fred Benenson and David Gallagher on the Kickstarter blog.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.