Hum, it's a tricky subject...
To sum-up from what I've understand from the discussion around that...
Natron has his financial support for 3 years now from INRIA that is a french research institute. That allowed Alex and Fred the main dev's to work fultime on Natron.
This support should end in December 2017, so they are looking to other ways to get financial support. I think they are more toward partnership with companies. A company pays to develop a special feature, gets a special natron version shipped with it, and eventually the feature goes to the open-source branch at some point .
The issue they found with kickstarter is that it's not enough to have someone working full-time over a year. Getting such a support from big companies is tricky too, at least this scenario work for blender and Tangent animation. But it's not common for a company to invest in software development they don't own at the first place, even if finally it get's open-sourced.
In the other hand, if a few companies drop half of their nuke license and invest it into natron development this could work. But this isn't as simple as it sound. To me there should be different ways of funding : a simple donate button in the main page. Some short term Kickstarter aimed at special features and specific contract with companies .
I think the sad thing is that big companies can provide financial support more easily but they are such administrative monsters where it's hard to get something different done because of many people working together. To them it's not clear and not easy to evaluate the time to invest to replace nuke with natron even at small scale. Where licences have a cost but it's more easy to evaluate the cost (of the software and the implementation).
The people finally that can invest in natron are more small/medium studios or individual, they've got less money to give but it's simpler to them to switch to natron or to see the benefits of the costs.