(CNN) -- The crowdfunding model, in which entrepreneurs seek online pledges to finance their pet projects, appears to be alive and well.
Kickstarter, the platform that has helped launch the Pebble smartwatch, the Oculus Rift gaming headset and the upcoming "Veronica Mars" movie, said it surpassed $1 billion in pledges on Monday. Although Kickstarter has been around for almost five years, it said more than half of the money was pledged in the past 12 months.
"$1 billion means that people care about new ideas," said the company in a special page announcing the milestone. The money helped bankroll 57,000 creative projects, from films and comic books to tech gadgets and video games.
Pledges came from 5.7 million people in 224 countries, most commonly the United States ($663 million), the UK ($54 million) and Canada ($45 million).
That's a far cry from Kickstarter's first day -- April 28, 2009 -- when a grand total of 40 people pledged $1,084 to seven projects.
The site requires project creators to choose a deadline and a target funding goal, with financial backers typically receiving preferential access to their product. Kickstarter takes 5% of all successfully funded projects. Investors are only charged if the project reaches its stated goal within the alloted time for fundraising -- otherwise no money changes hands.
If you're wondering, Wednesday is the day of the week when backers have pledged the most money, while pledges usually drop off on weekends.
Kickstarter is part of a growing number of crowdfunding sites that include Indiegogo, RocketHub and Crowdrise. Last month Kickstarter urged users to change their passwords after revealing it had been hacked.