Every day, crowdfunding sites are put to use for new and innovative purposes. Eminently recognizable sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, and smaller, more specialized entities like GoFundMe and Patreon are utilized by artists, designers, filmmakers, authors, college students—anyone who has an idea and a plan and wants to put themselves out there.
But what are the most successful crowdfunding campaigns? Let’s take a look at the top placeholders in five different categories: filmmaking, electronic design, games, technology, and education.
Filmmaking: The Veronica Mars Movie – In March 2013, Rob Thomas, the creator of fan favorite television series Veronica Mars started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a feature film with the same beloved characters from the series. It was the first time that a crowdfunding site had been used to support a feature film, and funders reached the $2 million goal within 11 hours! By the end of the campaign, the amount had exceeded $5.7 million (the most money raised for a media-based product), and had reached the most backers ever to that point on Kickstarter, with over 90,000 backers. Seeing the success of this, other filmmakers with cult followings have followed Thomas’s lead, including Zach Braff for his Wish I Was Here and most recently, the gang of Super Troopers for a Super Troopers 2. You can read more about The Veronica Mars Movie campaign and its many record-breaking instances, in this blog post from March 2013, Crowdfunding by Numbers.
Electronic design: Pebble Time – In early 2015, Pebble Technology launched a new campaign to help fund development and production of a color, e-paper smartwatch. Having previously successfully funded a campaign of over $10 million for early development and initial design on the watch, this new and improved smartwatch raised over $20 million and is, as of now, the highest funded crowdfunding campaign ever. With up to seven days battery life, sleek design and operating system, and water resistant, some tech sites are saying the Pebble Watch is even better than the Apple Watch.
Games: Exploding Kittens – This card game, described on the Kickstarter page as a “highly strategic, kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette” for “people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats” raised over $8.7 million—the highest amount raised for any game on a crowdfunding site.
Education: An Hour of Code for Every Student – This education campaign raised over $5 million in an effort to reach 100 million students and provide them with an hour of computer science coding instruction. They saw this need after realizing that 90% of schools still don’t offer computer science education for students. Donations were matched dollar for dollar by several large organizations, including Microsoft, Bill Gates, and Google.
Technology: COOLEST COOLER – This 21st century cooler raised nearly $13.3 million. What makes it the coolest cooler? It has a built in ice crushing blender for easy drink making, waterproof Bluetooth speakers, a built in USB charger, a lid light, built in cooler divider which doubles as a cutting board, and a built in bottle opener.
What crowdfunded efforts have you contributed to? Which kinds of projects would you find most compelling?