Thanks to the power of the Internet, raising money for startups on a grassroots level has become the new normal. With crowdfunding, aspiring entrepreneurs have found a way around the old barriers to getting their proverbial foot in the door.
That’s not to say that coming up with a feasible idea for a viable product - and fine-tuning it to perfection - is an easy feat. Nevertheless, it’s become easier for today’s innovators to launch their out-of-the-box idea into the business-sphere.
Whether it's investors or friends and followers, supporters have found that a crowdfunding platform creates more momentum and focused purpose on turning an idea into a profitable reality.
Given the current growth of this business model in recent years, it's the best time to get into crowdfunding. Here are some notable examples of successful campaigns that can give some ideas and inspiration for your own startup:
This project raised a whopping $27.9 million in a mere 30 days. Founded by Dan Shapiro, this is a 3D laser printer that can create things like an art deco lamp, a messenger bag, an engraved laptop cover, and so much more. With a push of a button, the Glowforge makes use of leather, paper, plastic, cardboard and other materials for virtually any project you've got in mind.
Anyone from professionals to hobbyists can take advantage of this printing tool. Whether you’re looking to sell your creations on Etsy or want to use it for your large-scale business, Glowforge is incredibly versatile.
#2: Pebble Watch
This e-paper smartwatch set the tech community abuzz with its standout features and groundbreaking functionality.
Aside from the iconic display, the Pebble Watch allows users to connect to both Android phones and the iPhone seamlessly. You could also customize with a robust range of apps for golfing, biking and running, to name a few.
Although the company has since been acquired by Fitbit, the original campaign managed to raise $10.2 million, and $20.3 million for the second generation called Pebble Time.
#3: Prison Architect
This video game raised $19 million, mainly in part to its unique premise. Essentially a simulation game, it allows the player to construct and manage their very own detention facility.
It was the culmination of five years’ work, and the payoff was more than worth it. The company behind it, Introversion, was on its last legs before Prison Architect became a hit. However, thanks to their hard work and persistence, the team managed to turn it all around and make their mark in the gaming scene.
#4: Coolest Cooler
Designer Ryan Grepper was tired of the same old boring cooler you'd usually find at your typical outdoor event. So he set out to create one with features to set it apart from other coolers. Thus, he went on to raise $13.2 million on Kickstarter and build the Coolest Cooler. It has a lot of high-tech bells and whistles built-in, such as a Bluetooth speaker, an 18-volt battery powered blender, USB charger, and an LED-lit interior to make it easy to find your drinks at night. This 21st-century take on the standard cooler has combined everything people love about being outdoors and make their outdoor experience even better.
#5: Flow Hive
Also clocking in at $13.2 million (raised on Indiegogo), this innovative redesign of the beehive allows beekeepers to extract honey without bothering the busy little workers inside.
The unique approach leaves the colony undisturbed, which makes the production and harvesting process becomes much more efficient. Flow Hive is literally honey on tap, and it’s a win-win for both beekeepers and their beloved bees.
#6: Exploding Kittens
This strategic board game got a lot of attention, thanks to its quirky theme that blends UNO and Russian roulette. The objective is to evade the titular character and avoid getting blown up. The creators include Elan Lee and Shane Small, both of whom have worked in the video game industry, along with Matthew Inman, the creator of the webcomic The Oatmeal.
This project certainly created a lot of hype, making it “The Most Backed Campaign in Kickstarter History” with 107,000 backers enthusiastically raising $8.7 million in a mere matter of days.
In a world where mobile gaming is king, console gaming has somewhat taken a backseat these days. That’s why the developers of Ouya, an Android-based gaming console, has dared to challenge the status quo.
Hankering for the golden days of console-based gaming, the creators of Ouya wanted to bust the door wide open for developers and bring their games back to the big screen. Featuring an open design, this console allows programmers total creative freedom so they can give an eager market of gamers what they truly want.
Their Kickstarter campaign raised $8.5 million during its initial run and was backed by just over 63,000 people.
#8: Pono Music
Spearheaded by Neil Young and his company PonoMusic, he raised $6.2 million to create a digital music service with audio enthusiasts the listening experience they want.
Featuring a music player and an online service, they’ve created an ecosystem to help bring high-quality FLAC audio in a portable format. As a result, it captures every wrinkle and subtle textures that often go unappreciated in today’s musical landscape. Some would even go so far as to say that Pono is dead.
#9: Fidget Cube
Anyone sitting behind a desk and trying to pound out some work knows what a struggle it can be to focus. Thus, this vinyl desk toy offers much-needed relief from restlessness. Using a series of tactile textures that users can fidget with, it allows them to concentrate on the task at hand and get into productive mode.
Created by Matthew and Mark McLachlan, they managed to raise $6,465,690. Featuring different colors, this little wonder pleases both the eyes and sense of touch.
It didn’t take much convincing for Skybell’s creators to sell the idea of being able to answer your front door using your smartphone. The campaign’s backers were instantly sold on the ability to get a live video feed of visitors and speak to them.
Andrew Thomas, one of the co-founders of Skybell, raised $600,000 in under a month to fund his innovative creation. Praised by tech experts everywhere, their product has found its way into millions of homes, giving people peace of mind.
All in all, crowdfunding is an excellent way to start a profitable venture with people who truly believe in your big idea. It allows you to generate interest on a larger scale than ever - not to mention attract the interest of bigger companies who just might want to strike a deal with your crowdfunded startup.