Kickstarter is using $7.5 million from its most recent $10 million fundraising round for a different kind of project — buying and renovating a former pencil factory in Greenpoint for its new headquarters.
The 50-employee crowdfunding platform will relocate to a landmarked building at 58 Kent Street, which used to house the Eberhard Faber Pencil Company factory from the 1870s to the 1950s. The building is currently a two-story “ruin” of “mixed red bricks and boarded arched windows,” according to The New York Post.
The company received approval earlier this summer to renovate the site, restoring the windows and entryways and building a rooftop garden penthouse. “We are hoping to stay at 58 Kent [St.] forever — to be our permanent headquarters,” Kickstarter CEO Perry Chen reportedly told a local community board in June.
Kickstarter’s current base is 155 Rivington St. in the Lower East Side. Since the company’s launch in 2009, it has helped more than 27,000 projects nab more than $255 million in funds. The startup takes a 5-percent cut of the money raised, which means it has generated about $12.5 million in revenue.
Other startups in Manhattan typically invest their funds into expanding their business and avoid purchasing office buildings. For instance, crafting marketplace Etsy, a veteran to the Brooklyn tech scene, rents its space in Dumbo even though it has raised more than $90 million, The New York Post reported.
Perhaps this will spark interest among startups in real estate investment, particularly with quirky artisanal Brooklyn factories. Is it time to anoint a G-train tech corridor?