I came across Kickstarter at the Power to the Pixel 2010 event. One of the competitive entries - Socks, Inc. - had used Kickstarter to raise finance and, as of this posting, had managed to secure over $7,000 in funding this way from generous angel investors.
Kickstarter has a nice and simple interface. Project creators post an introduction to their projects and invite investors to bid on them. All submissions include a video introduction to the project and the more professional ones tell the investor exactly what they intend to offer in return for their investment. Nevertheless, this is more of a charitable donation site in that most people give out of the goodness of their hearts - to help entrepreneurs get a head start.
There are nice update tabs that keep you informed as to how much of the target the project has raised to date and threads for conversation, so that people can interact around the project. Financial pledges are made in various, predefined increments.
What I like about this environment is the variety of projects on offer. Not only do you find more traditional film and documentary projects but, also, alternative reality games, consumer products and software services. For example, here's a project to fabricate a simple widget to prevent you from getting tangled in your camera strap - C-Loop. Or, how about TikTok - a project that has already raised $467,000 to convert the iPod Nano into a wearable watch?
Even after a project has raised funding, the interface provides for updates to track how the project is doing. Here is one called Story Box that has just been launched.
It's a great idea, well executed. For more information, check out their introduction.