Sheffield business pair hope pledges will help kickstart invention

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TWO Sheffield inventors have made history by becoming the first in the country to launch a project on new crowdfunding website Kickstarter UK.

Paul Beech and Jon Williamson signed up to the site earlier this month, which offers budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to secure investment ‘pledges’ from members of the public.

“We had a concept for a desktop arcade game which we wanted to develop, but development costs money,” said freelance graphic designer Paul, aged 36.

“We’d watched Kickstarter with interest, as it’s had a lot of success in the US, so when we heard it was coming to Britain, we knew we had to be a part of it.”

Kickstarter aims to break down the barriers that obstruct projects in their initial stages and spark a creative revolution, whether the concept is a film, art project or a brand new product.

Those beginning a Kickstarter project set a funding target and a date by which it must be reached.

The US site has managed almost $400m in pledges since it launched in 2009 and has helped get thousands of projects off the ground.

“We were there at midnight on the day of the UK launch, hitting the refresh button over and over again because, not only did we want our project to be on the site, we wanted our project to be the very first on the site,” said software designer Jon, 32.

Their invention, the Picade, uses a Raspberry Pi - a credit-card sized computer used by programmers - to build a mini version of arcade games like Pacman and Streetfighter.

The friends, known as Pimoroni, had to secure workspace in Sheffield to produce their creation after receiving orders for more than 400.

n Pledging continues until November 29 at Kick Starter