Everette Taylor, former chief marketing officer at Artsy, has taken over as Kickstarter’s CEO, the Brooklyn-based crowdfunding company tells Fast Company. His appointment caps a roughly six-month search for a new chief, after Aziz Hasan announced his departure.
He’ll be inheriting a company that’s had a difficult few years, wrestling with layoffs, increased competition, and blowback over its plans to move to blockchain technology. As he steps into his new role, Taylor wants to harness his background as a marketer to bring Kickstarter back into the public’s eye—working, as he puts it, toward “making Kickstarter sexy again.”
Kickstarter had “its best year ever” in 2021 and continues to be profitable, Taylor says, as it earns funds through a percentage of total money garnered from the site. This year, the company saw its largest campaign ever when fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson secured nearly $42 million in funding to self-publish four novels he wrote over the pandemic. “This is an established business,” he says. “It’s a really great place to be, especially in this macroeconomic environment.”
Taylor, 33, helped Artsy grow in a fine-art sector that had been, at first, reluctant to embrace online sales, and today the site features some one million works of art from nearly 8,000 galleries and other art vendors, along with most of the high-end auction houses. He also founded digital marketing agencies EZ Events and MilliSense. Among the major brands he’s worked with are Microsoft, AT&T, and Miller Lite.
Taylor hopes to attract more Gen Z users to the site, an age group that hasn’t come of age alongside Kickstarter in the way millennials and Gen Xers have. Taylor sees a lot of opportunity with that younger creator cohort. “It’s just time to get ourselves back out there and let the world know that we’re still here, and it’s an exciting time for us,” he says.
Kickstarter faced some blowback late last year after announcing it would migrate its platform to blockchain technology. The company later said it would slow those plans and address concerns voiced by users.
Taylor says that there was a lot of “misunderstanding” around the company’s blockchain plans. “My focus as CEO is still the core business and the ability to serve our community,” he says, adding that the majority of the company’s resources remain devoted to its core business.
Still, that’s not to say the company has abandoned its blockchain dreams. “It would be a disservice for Kickstarter to not explore other opportunities that are out there,” says Taylor, “but our focus is the core community.”