The potential of crowdfunding to pull in the big dollars is currently no more evident than on Kickstarter, the crowdfunding website.
The Pebble Smartwatch project has smashed site records by raising more than $10 million, that’s three times more than the previous record-holder, and an incredible one hundred times more than the project’s original goal of raising $100,000.
The project was launched in late April and by the end of the first day had reached its target.
Pebble is a nifty looking customisable watch that runs a plethora of cool and useful apps and connects by Bluetooth to iphones and Android smartphones.
The company behind it decided to go with Kickstarter because Venture Capitalists felt the risks of investing in a hardware start-up were too great. So the Pebble team appealed directly to consumers for the funds it needed to get the project up and running.
As well as raising capital other unforeseen benefits soon became apparent. An ecosystem around Pebble’s app platform developed.
In a Forbes article about Pebble, Anthony Wing Kosner wrote: “It’s a virtuous circle. The more people have the watches, the bigger the ecosystem there is to develop apps for. The more apps there are for the watches, the more useful they become (within reason, of course). The more useful the watches are, the more people will buy them, and so on.”
Funding for the smartwatch closed eight days before the scheduled end date, and the company now has 85,000 pre-orders to fill for its backers (the original aim was to produce 1,000 watches). Once that has been completed the watch will go on sale to the general public for $150.