As the world’s largest crowd-funding platform, Kickstarter has become the notorious home of hip startup ideas and creative pitches. Founded in 2009 by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler, and backed by big name angel investors like Jack Dorsey (co-founder of Twitter), Zach Klein (co-founder of Vimeo), and Caterina Fake (co-founder of Flickr), Kickstarter has experienced rapid growth. Last week, Kickstarter released some interesting statistics on its business so far: more than 5 million people have backed a project, nearly $850 million has been pledged, and over 50,000 projects have been successfully funded.
If you’re looking for a little inspiration to start your week, here are three Kickstarter success stories that can give you a dose of motivation.
Last week, in our piece on smartwatches, we told you about the Kickstarter phenom, Pebble. After raising more than $10 million through Kickstarter (the most ever raised) from nearly 69,000 backers, Pebble had to limit pre-orders due to the high demand while the Kickstarter fundraising campaign was still running. This summer, prior to its Best Buy release, Pebble had sold 275,000 watches. The weekend following its Best Buy unveiling, the smartwatch had already sold out from the consumer electronics retailer's shelves.
“The real value of Kickstarter… is the fact that it’s simplified,” says Pebble co-founder, Eric Migicovsky. “It’s a single landing page…. If you can explain why someone should back your project… there’s a single green button on the right that people hit.”
Sun Come Up and Incident in New Baghdad
Sun Come Up, directed by Jennifer Redfearn, was the first Kickstarter-backed film to be nominated for an Academy Award when it was recognized in 2011 in the Best Documentary, Short Subject category. Director James Spione’s film, Incident in New Baghdad, nominated in the same category the following year, becoming the second Kickstarter-funded project to be nominated for an Oscar.
Sun Come Up follows the Carteret Islanders as they’re forced to relocate due to the rising sea levels caused by climate change. Incident in New Baghdad offers a first-person account from U.S. Army Veteran Ethan McCord, who was on the scene following the attack of an American helicopter on what turned out to be unarmed civilians and Reuters employees. Both films received strong reviews and both were nominated for an Academy Award giving a boost of credibility to Kickstarter as a legitimate investment source.
Boxer8’s Ouya is a microconsole, running a version of Android as its operating system. Aiming to revolutionize the gaming console industry, Boxer8, headed by Julie Uhrman, founded a project to develop an open source console for which developers from all over the world can create games.
With the goal of raising $950,000 through Kickstarter, Ouya reach its goal eight times over, earning over $8.5 million by the campaign’s closing. And despite a few setbacks – lagging controllers, late deliveries, PR faux pas – which resulted in Uhrman publically announcing, “We have done a lot of things wrong. We've made a lot of mistakes,” Ouya has been a success. Now stocked in all 1,800 Targets and with 26,000 registered developers, Ouya’s future is steeped in potential.
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