I mentioned Kickstarter a while back and have become more addicted since. Basically, people put their designs, products, art, etc. on the website and say how much they need to fund it. Then, you go on and fund the ideas that you're interested in.
When we were in Portland, everywhere we went had water glasses made from old wine bottles. We loved them, but never ended up finding a set to buy. Fast forward a few months and up pops the Kinkajou, a bottle cutter designed to make glasses out of empties. So, we funded it.
We're expecting our own Kinkajou some time in the fall.
You can fund everything from albums, to food trucks, to these cool bike helmet bags:
If the project isn't fully funded, you don't pay anything. If it is, you make your contribution and get a reward in return.
It's totally addicting, but it feels good to help someone start their dream business.