Ouya, Startups and Raising Capital

The Ouya console and controller

The Ouya console and controller

I was reading about Ouya's Kickstarter campaign.  The company raised $8.5 million dollars, beating their goal of $950,000 by 900%.  I became aware of the Ouya project minutes after the campaign opened, and I had little doubt they would exceed their goal.  The end result exceeded my wildest estimation.

Have you heard of Ouya?  Ouya strives to be an inexpensive, HD capable game console that runs Android.  In contrast to the approach of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft, Ouya will allow anyone to publish games for their console.  Thinks Widows or the Mac.  Ouya is using a lot of tested, widely available technology as its foundation.  They are using an existing OS.  The attempt at market disruption is not advanced technology.  Instead, Ouya focuses on price and access.  It will be interesting to see if they can hit their pricing targets while keeping enough margin to grow a company.  They believe that creating a platform that is more accessible to independent developers will be enough to build an ecosystem that can compete with industry titans.

I'm a fan of indie work.  I like indie music and indie film.  I even founded an indie record label believing that the Internet creates the opportunity for content producers and audiences to do commerce without the needs for an expensive and risk-averse middle man infrastructure.  This was before the emergence of crowd capital fund raising.

The Cluetrain Manifesto got it right.  Markets are self organizing faster than traditional organizations thanks to the Internet.  The dynamics of startups are evolving because customer based funding is truly disruptive.  If you have a good idea, and you can build confidence in an audience that you can make that idea reality with a set amount of funding, the need to appeal to existing business interests is minimized.  Much like my beloved Blue Like Jazz became a reality without a backing studio.

Perhaps the future for independent artists and startups no longer lies in studios, labels, and venture capitalists.

Could this be the dawn of the Kickstarter Agent?

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