Updated December 28, 2015
Since it was founded in 2009, Kickstarter has acted as a groundswell of support for many innovative endeavors, connecting fans to the creators of the projects they want to see made.
In the 2014, the Coolest Cooler was the leader of the pack in terms of money raised. In spring of 2015, Ryan Grepper's invention was eclipsed by the Pebble Time, in a return trip for smartwatch maker Pebble, which got its start on Kickstarter in 2012. Now five out of the ten most funded campaigns getting major buy in from backers in significant numbers, it seems that crowdfunding has become a more viable option for new companies and projects than ever before.
Here are the 10 highest-earning campaigns to date.
1. Pebble Time
Raised: $20,338,986 (4,067 percent of goal)
Funded: March 27, 2015
Talk about customer loyalty. Palo Alto, Calif.-based smartwatch maker Pebble got its start with a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign in 2012 – and now it's reclaimed the throne again. The company's latest Pebble Time watch is not only the most funded campaign in the platform's history, but it's also the fastest funded, raising $1 million in less than an hour (its initial goal was $500,000). Since its launch three years ago, the company has been at work perfecting its hardware (the most recently announced Pebble Time Steel has not only a new interface, but a Gorilla Glass lens and up to 10 days of battery life) and adding to its expansive (more than 6,500 apps) open platform app store.
2. Coolest Cooler
Raised: $13,285,226 (26,570 percent of goal)
Funded: August 29, 2014
Inventor Ryan Grepper struck crowdfunding gold just months after suffering a Kickstarter flop. Ten years in the making, Grepper's Coolest Cooler (which, in its first iteration, involved a precarious but resourceful mix of weed whacker and blender) pulled ahead of the pack to become the most funded Kickstarter campaign to date, ousting Pebble Technology from the top spot after two years. Thanks to 62,642 backers, the Portland, Ore.-based company raised $13,285,226. The cooler comes in three colors and includes several features, including a USB port, waterproof speakers, a bottle opener, and storage for food as well as plates and utensils.
3. Pebble Technology
Raised: $10,266,845 (10,266 percent of goal)
Funded: May 18, 2012
With heavy hitters like Apple, Google and Samsung working to perfect their smartwatch technology, perhaps it is not surprising that Pebble remains among the most funded Kickstarter campaigns to date, with $10,266,845 pledged by more than 85,000 backers in May of 2012. The Palo Alto-based company builds stylish, customizable and waterproof smartwatches with a full app store and batteries that can last more than a week. Run by Founder and CEO Eric Migicovsky, Pebble sold 400,000 watches in its first year.
4. The World's Best Travel Jacket
Raised: $9,192,055 (45,960 percent of goal)
Funded: Sept. 3, 2015
Husband and wife team Hiral Sanghavi and Yoganshi Shah came up with the idea for an all-in-one travel jacket after years of Hiral forgetting to bring his neck pillow on flights. The BauBax jacket comes in four styles for men and women and comes equipped with 15 features that include that aforementioned neck pillow, an eye mask, gloves, a blanket and all manner of pockets for technology. With the help of 44,949 backers, Sanghavi and Shah raised more than $9 million, going above and beyond the initial $20,000 goal.
5. Exploding Kittens
Raised: $8,782,571 (87,825 percent of goal)
Funded: February 19, 2015
The Exploding Kittens tag line is "a card game for people who into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats." Kind of says it all, right? Created by of game designers Elan Lee (Xbox) and Shane Small (Xbox, Marvel) and cartoonist Matthew Inman, the mind behind popular web comic The Oatmeal, the campaign for the distinctive Russian Roulette-style card game became Kickstarter's most backed campaign ever with 219,382 backers.
Raised: $8,596,474 (904 percent of goal)
Funded: Aug. 9, 2012
OUYA is a videogame console made on the Android platform for users to hook up to their TVs. With an aim to make games more accessible and less expensive as well as inspire innovation, the creators of OUYA, who also built Jawbone's Jambox, a wireless Bluetooth speaker, made an open-source gaming console and kit that allows developers to build their own games. Run by Founder and CEO Julie Uhrman, and designed by Yves Behar, who worked with the design for One Laptop per Child, the campaign raised $8,596,474 , blowing past its $950,000 goal.
7. Shenmue 3
Raised: $6,333,295 (316 percent of goal)
Funded: July 17, 2015
A highly anticipated installment to the Shenmue video game franchise, which first began in 1999 and was followed by a sequel in 2001, the RPG game follows main character Ryo Hazuki's travels across Asia to avenge the death of his father. In '99 it was among the first "open world" games, meaning that the players could go wherever they wanted in the game. Shenmue 3 comes from the series' original creator Yu Suzuki, who is known for being one of the creative minds behind many popular Sega games. Shenmue 3 is expected to be in gamers' hands in December 2017.
Raised: $6,225,354 (778 percent of goal)
Funded: April 15, 2014
PonoMusic's MO is pure sound fidelity. In 2012, legendary musician Neil Young started a digital music service that aims to provide fans with the listening experience that their favorite bands and artists intended. The PonoPlayer lets listeners hear clear-as-day studio quality sound, complete with a connected app and digital music store. More than 18,200 backers pledged $6,222,354. The initial goal was $800,000.
9. Mystery Science Theater 3000
Raised: $5,764,229 (288 percent of goal)
Funded: Dec. 12, 2015
Mystery Science Theater 3000, otherwise known as MST3K, premiered on local TV in Minneapolis in 1988. Created by writer and comedian Joel Hodgson, the beloved Emmy-nominated cult series starred Hodgson as a janitor that was trapped on the Satellite of Love by mad scientists who spends his time making fun of terrible movies with a bunch of wisecracking robots. The rebooted series will be comprised of 14 new episodes including a holiday special and will star comedian and Nerdist Podcast co-host Jonah Ray, genre favorite Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural) and comedian Patton Oswalt. Some perks for campaign donors included personalized voicemail greetings from favorite characters, invitations to the premieres in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, dinner with the cast and a chance to appear in an episode. Thanks to more than 48,000 backers, the creative team raised nearly $5.7 million, clearing their $2 million goal.
10. The Veronica Mars Movie Project
Raised: $5,702,153 (285 percent of goal)
Funded: April 12, 2013
Veronica Mars was a beloved cult TV series that ran from 2004-2007 about a teenage PI investigating the haves and have-nots of her noirish CA town. Diehard fans, known as Marshmallows, loved the show for its sharp writing and indelible performances. After the series was cancelled, they, along with showrunner Rob Thomas and star Kristin Bell long held out hope that that the sassy sleuth could be seen on screen once more. The project's goal was for $200,000 and it was was met in only 10 hours. Funding reached $5,702,153 by the end of the campaign. The film was released in theaters on March 14, 2014.