I have been a fan of the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform for some time — it seems to me to be a great way for entrepreneurs with good product ideas to raise the funding they need to get their ideas off the ground. However, while crowdfunding holds great potential for entrepreneurs, the appeal to date is I’m sure limited by the amount of money that platforms such as Kickstarter have actually generated for their clients. A quick look at the Kickstarter "Discover Projects" page, for example, shows several projects hovering at just a few thousand dollars, with some under $1,000.
That does not a serious product funding make.
However, my assumptions about crowdfunding were recently shattered when I read an article about a product that has gained a huge following on Kickstarter — and the dollars to match. The product is Pebble — an attractive smartwatch that displays messages and alerts from iPhones and other smartphones. As I write this post, Pebble has attracted 39,837 backers and a total of $5.8 million in crowdfunding.
Yes — that was $5.8 million.
In exchange for their cash investments, Pebble’s backers get a variety of premiums, including (no surprise) Pebble watches as soon as they are available (starting at a pledge of $99), and distributor packs (starting at a pledge of $1,000) that will enable backers to go into business selling the watches themselves.
Looks to me like crowdfunding has finally truly arrived.