The Pebble has raised $7 million from nearly 50,000 strangers in a matter of weeks. That’s the power of a growing trend toward crowd funding, as demonstrated by the most successful Kickstarter campaign yet.
The Pebble watch syncs with iPhone and Android smartphones to deliver e-mail, text messages, and calendar alerts, among other things. Dubbed the “smart watch,” Pebble’s journey to becoming the most funded Kickstarter project to date is not exactly a Cinderella story, but it’s impressive nonetheless.
Eric Migicovsky leads the development team behind Pebble. The developers already have a similar product called inPulse for Android and BlackBerry smartphones. This month, Migicovsky and his team shattered the dogma of traditional funding by venture capitalist firms by tapping into the Kickstarter community.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Migicovsky had to overcome two hurdles before Pebble could become a reality: lack of funding and challenges with Apple’s operating system that prevented interaction with watches. Apple updated its software last summer, so that left the issue of funding.
Migicovsky was advised by startup incubator Y Combinator’s co-founder, Paul Graham, to post his project on Kickstarter. Within two hours of doing so, the team hit their $100,000 goal.
Kickstarter works by letting anyone propose a project on the site, setting a monetary goal. If the goal is met, the project gets funded. Everything from independent films to garden projects has been funding through Kickstarter campaigns.
Pebble isn’t the only Kickstarter project that’s gained an overwhelming level of support. Projects like Elevation Dock and Brydge keyboard both garnered huge responses for their innovative design concepts.
Developers for the video game “Shadowrun” turned to Kickstarter to fund the next iteration of the game, “Shadowrun Returns.” The game studio that published “Shadowrun,” FASA Studios, was shut down by Microsoft in 2007. The game’s original creators, Harebrained Schemes, obtained the license from Microsoft and took to Kickstarter to raise funds for development. More than 36,000 backers shelled out $1.8 million to see the next release of the game.
Kickstarter isn’t the only company in the space, but the success of Pebble only demonstrates how crowd funding can make a significant impact on startups and companies in need of a lifeline.