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Map of Kickstarters shows how crowdfunding and creation is localized throughout the US

If Kickstarter is a bellwether for creativity and innovation, then this is a very telling dataset

A new map showing the distribution of Kickstarter crowdfunding successes throughout the United States shows a very interesting distribution. It highlights concentrations of creatives and budding entrepreneurs, and points out the outsized influence the platform has in smaller communities. Made in partnership with the data essayists at Polygraph, it’s also highly interactive.

Just one year ago Kickstarter subtly changed its focus from a fully for-profit, private company to something called a public benefit corporation. Much of that change involved devoting resources to local institutions around its New York headquarters. But it also had a lot to do with spreading the kind of opportunity, innovation and ideals that Kickstarter hopes to promote.

"It's our belief that there are a lot of people out there, and a lot of people in the creative communities in particular, who feel similarly about these things," said co-founder and CEO Yancey Strickler at the time. "About their desire to live in a society where there is a greater search for equality, there is a greater commitment to values, that are thinking about things beyond our self interests. And so, those are some of the foundations of our company, and always have been.

"If the end result of this is someone launches a Kickstarter project and that turns into a business, well maybe they think about starting their business as a benefit corporation. That could be a great outcome."

Through their work with the folks at Polygraph, Kickstarter found a few interesting tidbits that actually had to do with the gaming industry in particular. They shared them via email with Polygon.

What emerged was a map visualizing the creative makeup and innovative communities of various cities. At a glance you can see which cities are biggest in terms of creative output, and where the biggest pockets of games creators reside.

Other interesting bits:

  • Atlanta is home to a number of gaming projects. There are 8 gaming projects with at least 9,000 backers, which is on par with major tech hubs such as LA and Austin.
  • Provo, Utah has only 100,000 people. But in terms of number of projects with over 1,000 backers, it looks like it should be the population of Indianapolis or Miami. The city’s community is engaged with every sort of project that its creators launch. It's also home to Brigham Young University, which leads to our last point...
  • Salt Lake City, UT is the 2nd most popular city for games projects (after adjusting for population).
  • Indianapolis’s projects are 25% tabletop games. In fact, the city’s four most-backed projects are tabletop games!
  • Bozeman, Montana has the highest percent of projects that are documentaries (roughly 25 percent). Next in line is another Montana city: Missoula. Part of the explanation may lie in the fact that both cities are home to colleges: University of Montana and Montana State University.

So often those who want to get into the games industry feel compelled to move to one of the coasts, where there’s a high concentration of large developers and publishers and the cost of living is high. With this interactive presentation, Kickstarter is showing how it’s contributing to the growth of smaller enclaves throughout the country.

In the next decade this chart could prove to be very prescient, as new centers for the games industry begin to flourish and take their place on the national stage.

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