Entrepreneurs are turning to crowdfunding as a way to finance their creative ideas. Crowdfunding involves relatively small contributions of many consumer-investors over a fixed time period (generally a few weeks). The purpose of this paper is to add to our empirical understanding of backer dynamics over the project funding cycle. Two years of publicly available data on projects listed on Kickstarter is used to establish that the typical pattern of project support is U-shaped — in general, backers are more likely to contribute to a project in the first and last week as compared to the middle period of the funding cycle. We further establish that this U-shape pattern of support is pervasive across projects, including both successfully and unsuccessfully funded projects, those with large and small goals, and projects in different categories. We then empirically explore the dynamics associated with several factors, including collective attention effects from platform sorting options, the role of family and friends in supporting projects, the effects of social influence, and the role of project updates over the project funding cycle.
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