Kickstarter is the most popular crowdfunding platform in the world. Every type of creative project under the sun can be brought to life with the help of individual funders. It’s a fantastic way to raise capital to bring your idea to the market. Musicians, artists, designers and creators of all types can reach out to a community of like minded people to raise money. Since 2009 $1.7 billion has been pledged by over 8 million people. If you are planning a crowdfunding campaign for your startup you should check out our top 10 list of innovative Kickstarter campaigns to inspire yourself and your startup team!
1. Pebble Smartwatch:
Founder: Eric Migicovsky (CEO)
Kickstarter Campaign: Pebble Time - Awesome Smartwatch, No Compromises
This is the future of smart technology. Wearables are the way forward, much handier than having to use your phone. With over 7 days battery life and an inbuilt microphone this watch is a smart little fellow. It’s light too, weighing just 42.5g so you can run with it and use the latest gps mapping technology. Pebble was crowdfunded in 2012 and set a record funding amount reaching over $10 million.
STARTUP TIP 1 - FREQUENT COMMUNICATION:
Keeping in touch regularly is paramount to the success of the campaign. It both keeps people engaged and gives them something to share with others. Constant contact will give people assurance that the project will actually go ahead.
2. OUYA - Video Game Console:
Founder: Julie Uhrman (CEO)
Kickstarter Campaign: OUYA - A New Kind of Video Game Console
This opens up a whole new world of tv gaming. Any developer can design for the console and the games will all be free. They’ve currently got over 1100 games available. You can also stream 1080p movies and music into your living room. Ouya managed to raise funds of over 8 million.
STARTUP TIP 2 - GET BLOGGERS AND CONTENT WRITERS INVOLVED:
The network of people you know is only so big. If you get the word out to bloggers in the industry they will share your content and word will pass to many more people. Having a press pack with high quality photos is key so journalists will be able to create decent content using your photos.
3. Exploding Kittens - Card Game App:
Founders: Shane Small (Creator) | Elan Lee (Creator) | Elan Lee (Creator)
Kickstarter Campaign: Exploding Kittens
When I first heard that a game about kittens had raised over $8 million I grew despondent. I felt that the world had changed utterly and I was left behind wallowing in simpler times. On closer inspection this is a really creative campaign along with a very fun for all type of game.
“If you’re the type of person that’s into games, kittens, explosions, laser beams, Sasquatches, enchiladas and sometimes goats please back our Kickstarter.” - It’s not often you hear that combination of words together but it tells you so much about the founders. They have produced a really unique and engaging video, it’s no surprise they raised so much. .
STARTUP TIP 3 - AN ENGAGING VIDEO IS A MUST:
These guys made an incredible animation and it’s really worked wonders for them. A lot can be learned from this approach. Projects that include a creative video are much more likely to get backed up to 65% more likely. Adding a video also increases the amount of money you will be able to raise. You don’t need to make the next Transformers movie, it’s fine to keep it basic in terms of production, but you need to convey your credibility and get people interested.
4. Coolest Cooler - 21st Century Cooler:
Founder: Ryan Grepper (CEO)
Kickstarter Campaign: COOLEST COOLER: 21st Century Cooler that's Actually Cooler
This was an incredibly successful campaign with over 62k backers chipping in over $13 million. It’s easy to see why. It’s pretty much the perfect sidekick for the summer. It’s a cooler with a built in bluetooth enabled waterproof speaker and a powerful blender for those summer mojitos. Next time you’re sitting at a festival campsite and you’re phone is dead you won’t have to worry about trying to find your mates, you can plug straight into the cooler and grab a beer while you’re waiting to get the battery back up. The accessories you get with it are handy too; bottle opener, led lights, tires and essential storage.
STARTUP TIP 4 - DEMONSTRATE CREDIBILITY:
You need above all to display to potential backers that you have the skills to reach the target funding amount. Whether this is by displaying a prototype or by describing similar products your company is capable of making. Even illuminating that you have the capabilities to do it, can be enough to gain the trust of funders.
5. Pono Music - Portable Music Player:
Founders: Neil Young | John Hamm (CEO)
Kickstarter Campaign: Pono Music - Where Your Soul Rediscovers Music
Pono means righteous. It is a Hawaiian word, the one, the pureness. This is the future of music. If you are a producer or artist you no longer have to corrupt your music by compressing it on mp3 or cd. Pono will allow a perfect digital replication of the original recording. Pure music undiluted. Imagine what this means for the consumer, finally getting high grade music and the ability to restore old music to near perfection. I’m pretty excited about this one it’s going to be a feast for the lugholes.
STARTUP TIP 5 - GIVE YOUR PRODUCT AS A REWARD:
This may seem obvious to some but there is a Kickstarter graveyard of campaigns that only offered branded mugs and pens. The really big campaigns will offer limited edition products that backers won’t find in the shops.
6. The Dash - Wireless Earphones:
Founder: Nikolaj Hviid (CEO)
Kicstarter Campaign: Wireless Smart In Ear Headphones
These are the perfect headphones. They are smart, wireless, and fully waterproof so you can even use them in the pool. Its also got a fitness tracker, heart rate monitor, and an ear bone microphone to allow for crisp communication. The fit of these seems perfect, it just sits in the ear and weighs less than 14grammes. It’s the perfect accessory for athletes and business people.
STARTUP TIP 6 - RESPOND TO COMMUNITY FEEDBACK:
Taking on board requests and recommendations from the community of Kickstarters is a great way to get the best product possible. Be open to change and different ideas and engage with funders.
7. Oculus Rift - Virtual Reality Headset for 3D Gaming:
Founder: Palmer Luckey
Kickstarter Campaign: Oculur Rift - Step Into the Game
Virtual reality has come along way from the £3 a go heavy duty headset you had a go of in your local arcade with graphics so bad you weren’t sure if the screen was on or not. This technology has gotten so advanced it’s a little scary. The line between reality and the virtual realm has gotten even smaller. They promise full immersion in your game of choice and at a price that is accessible. Mind blowing, world changing and breathtaking are common parlance when describing the Oculus.
STARTUP TIP 7 - KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE:
It’s important to remember who is likely to be interested in your product and how best to communicate with them. Gamers and techies would have been the main backers here and Oculus were able to speak their language.
8. Envelop 3D Sound:
Founders: Andrew Kimpel | Christopher Willits | Elan Rosenman | Roddy Lindsay
Kickstarter Campaign: ENVELOP - 3D Sound
This one is set to change music as we know it, providing us with 3 dimensional sound. We naturally hear in 3 dimensions so finally speaker technology has caught up. They have invented a speaker that will move sound in space in any direction. They hope to host 3d dj sets, music performances and independent film screenings. Envelop is a not for profit initiative and they will be hosting educational workshops and hackathons.
STARTUP TIP 8 - SET UP STRETCH GOALS:
Some campaigns will hit the end goal within a few weeks so it’s important if you are lucky enough for that to happen, to have stretch goals laid out. In Envelop’s case they had stretch goals of up-grading the video projection system, for educational initiatives and operating expenses. It’s important to lay out further goals beyond the target amount so that funders will know where the extra money will be put to use.
9. Planty- Smart Plant Pot:
Founders: Leo Kim (CEO) | Seth Nam (COO) | June Kim (CTO)
Kickstarter Campaign: Planty - The Smart Way to Connect with Nature
I don’t know how many bonsai trees have died on me over the years but there has been a lot. They say it takes years to master the watering alone. This smart pot will monitor the temperature and water levels of your plant and report directly to your smartphone. If it needs watering it will notify you, if it has gotten too cold it will also send you a message. If you are on holiday you can set it to water itself or you do this from work. There is no excuse to let that poor plant die anymore when this becomes available. It’s only about 60% backed so far but it has 25 days to go.
STARTUP TIP 9 - KEEP YOUR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN UNDER 30 DAYS:
Statistically fundings terms up to 30 days have the highest success rate. They give an air of confidence rather that campaigns that stretch out to the 60 day mark.
10. Advicy Drive - Drowsy Driving Detector:
Founders: Vincenzo Ferreri (CEO) | Giorgio Ferrari (CFO) | Paolo Sangregorio (CTO) | Rodolfo Pinto (CCO)
Kickstarter Campaign: Protect against sleepy driving and monitor pulse anywhere
This is a very valuable addition to safe driving technology. Only recently a friend of mine was driving back from a wedding and he fell asleep hitting the fence in the middle of the road. Luckily he was ok but it could easily have been worse. Advicy Drive is wearable technology that monitors your heart rate so it knows if you are outside of your normal range and will send you an alert. The first step is setting your personal attention value parameters. You need to stay relaxed to let Advicy measure the right value (this process is needed only once and this alert threshold will then be used by the App during your drive time as comparison). It uses the same technology that they use in hospitals to read your fingertip pulse.
STARTUP TIP 10 - REACH OUT TO PEOPLE BEFORE THE LAUNCH:
It’s crucial to get a lot of pre launch buzz going so there is a quick uptake at the start. If the amount backed at the start is low people might have some concerns about being one of the first few in. They say the 20% milestone is very important and reaching that as soon as possible is ideal.
Michael is a recovering accountant. Having subjected himself to a litany of exams he decided that life is too short to count beans so instead he wants to chance his arm writing. When he is not with ink and quill you can find him levitating in a local yoga centre or baking caramel squares. Freelance content and copywriter, covering short and long content pieces across various different media forms. Don't forget to connect with Michael on LinkedIn or ping him on Twitter.