10 Crowdfunding Success Stories to Love
Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, Fundable and Indiegogo are responsible for some of the coolest projects coming out right now. The sky's the limit when it comes to these projects. Everything from a music label deal to food companies, there is something for everyone.
Here’s a list of 10 of the coolest crowdfunding success stories.
1. FORM1: With 3D printable clothing being a prediction for the future, the need for affordable home printer options needs attention now. Well, researchers from the MIT Media Lab have taken on the challenge creating the FORM1, a project to create an affordable, professional 3D printer for the public. The FORM1 blew through its original $100,000 goal, getting over 2,000 backers and $3 million dollars in funding. 3D printing at your house may not be as far off as you thought!
2. Hidden Radio 2: The original Hidden Radio was a small, beautiful speaker to make your music not only sound good, but look good, too. The creators are back with its follow up, the Hidden Radio 2. With an incredibly sleek, bullet-like design, the designers have improved the quality, made the volume adjustable just by twisting the speaker system itself and overall delivered a superior but powerfully simple speaker for your home or home office. Music can sound and look good with this two-time Kickstarter success story.
3. SkyBell: Don’t you hate it when you’ve been waiting forever for a package and you just miss it? Or when you’re working at home and the doorbell rings to reveal some solicitors who don’t take no for an answer? Well so do the creators of SkyBell, who developed a camera system with audio and microphone, that works through a smartphone app. You can literally answer (or not) your door from anywhere with your iPhone. Talk, listen, leave instructions and see who you’re talking to all with the affordable and reliable SkyBell system.
4. Pebble: The Pebble wristband is one of the smartest, coolest watch options out there. The Pebble watch works with your apps from your iPhone and Android to give you instant, easy notifications of important calls, emails or other app alerts via the display on the watch’s digital face. It looks cool, it works amazingly and it blew the lid off the competition, earning $1 million of support in only 28 hours on Kickstarter. It eventually went on to raise more than $10 million.
5. Elevation Dock: The design team behind Elevation Dock wasn’t happy with the Apple docking solutions out there. So they decided to go on Kickstarter and get funding to create a better one. ElevationLab, the team behind Elevation Dock, rounded up $1.4 million to create the dock of their dreams thanks to crowdfunding. It features a minimal industrial design with a new custom NanoPad underside to keep it locked to your desk. You can undock your phone with one hand and it was designed to work with or without your phone case on. It’s the docking station of your dreams.
6. The Nikola Tesla Wardenclyffe Science Center: It isn’t just high tech that succeeds on crowdfunding. Web comic The Oatmeal has long ranted and raved about how unfair it is that modern culture knows about Edison and has completely forgotten the innovator and entrepreneur Nikola Tesla. He finally took his rant to Indiegogo and the result was more than $1 million raised to save the site of Tesla’s incomplete lab, Wardenclyffe Tower. The funding was earned in just nine days and the organizer realized the public was ready to make the project more than just a restoration. So ground was broken to create a museum and science center honoring Tesla.
7. Veronica Mars Movie. Veronica Mars was one of the fifth highest grossing crowdfunding projects to date, aiming for $2 million in funding, according to Wikipedia. It ended up with over $5.7 million and a studio-backed film adaptation based on the popular UPN/CW television series of the same name. Fans providing the funding for the films they want to see up front, instead of lamenting the $12 they just wasted at the theater? That’s a revolutionary concept that could catch on quickly!
8. The Glif: True entrepreneurism and invention comes from solving a common problem that no one has been able to address previously. Queue the crowdfunded Glif, a simple smartphone holder that works as a stand or tripod attachment. It’s such a simple piece of engineered plastic, yet it solved the common problem of stabilizing that users faced when trying to use their iPhone camera to film or photograph. The project was designed on a $10,000 budget, but ended up surpassing $137,000 in funding. Proof that the public was ready for the Glif solution!
9. Oculus Rift: If you read any kind of tech news in 2013, you know about the hype surrounding the crowdfunded virtual reality head-mount display called Oculus Rift. It’s an incredible Kickstarter project that aimed to take virtual reality into an accessible and actually usable home gaming dimension. More than $2.4 million dollars was raised over a $250,000 goal. This VR head-mounted display unit became a reality when units started shipping out in March 2013.
10. The Scanadu Scout: The Scout is the first medical tricorder, which in layman's terms means it’s a scanner that is packed with sensors designed to read your vital signs and then wirelessly send them to your smartphone to diagnose symptoms in seconds. That could be a helpful or even life-saving device. Anything from a sick child to an aging parent, allergy attack to heart attack or stroke, the implications are huge for sensing and diagnosing early medical issues before they become life-threatening. The Scanadu Scout set out to raise $100,000 on Indiegogo and ended up with over $1.5 million in funding. It just goes to show that early adoption for early dedication is a popular idea people are willing to pay to develop.
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.