Launched in 2009 by Perry Chan, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler, Kickstarter is a platform that allows independent people and companies to crowd-source funding of new and innovative ideas and products with a focus on creativity. With Kickstarters all-or-nothing system of backing, if a project doesn’t reach the desired amount of funding before the predetermined deadline, supporter’s money stays in their pockets, minimizing risk.
In addition to this safety net, projects are required to offer backers rewards depending on how much money they’re willing to contribute, making for some pretty enticing opportunities. Kickstarter has lead to the creation of some truly innovative products and ideas that without it would never have seen the light of day.
OUYA – Over $8 Million
Touted as a developer-friendly gaming console meant to eliminate the traditional challenges of developing for a non-mobile platform, this gaming console raised over $8 million in 2012.
Guaranteed to send shivers down the spines of wannabe Kickstarter’s, the OUYA went from being a massive success on the fund-raising platform to one of its biggest failures in only a few short years. Bought by Razer in 2015, by 2019, the company would announce all online services for the console would be shut down, thus ending what Ouya thought of as a “revolution,” in gaming.
Exploding Kittens – $8,782,571
Delivered in 2015, this quirky card game caught the attention of over 200,000 backers who raised $8,782,571, far exceeding the original $10,000 goal. Exploding Kittens is a Russian roulette-style game where “players take turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten and loses the game.”
Now available in major retail chains, the game has become an unlikely hit and one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever.
The Wyrmwood Modular Gaming Table – $7,808,136
One of the most recent entries on the list, this modular table made specifically for tabletop gamers managed to raise $7,808,136 more than its original $1 million goal. With the ability to transform from a traditional four-person coffee table into a full-fledged dining room table in addition to its removable topper to create the ideal gaming surface, it’s clear the table captured the attention of all types of gamers.
Expected to start shipping in September of this year, it’s still early to tell how things will shake out for the young company, but with this many backers, it’s clear that they’ve created an exciting product.
Travel Jacket By BAUBAX – $9,192,055
The most funded apparel project in the history of Kickstarter, this 2015 campaign raised $9,192,055, quite a huge leap over their original $20,000 goal. This travel-specific jacket is meant to give wearers everything they need on their journey.
With a built-in neck pillow, eye mask, gloves, drink holder, passport pocket, and more, it’s a fair bit more versatile than the average jacket. Released in 2015, BAUBAX’s campaign was clearly a success, as their company has expanded into all types of apparel, including pants and shoes.
Critical Role: The Legend Of Vox Machina Animated Special – $11,385,449
Raking in a massive $11,385,449, this Kickstarter campaign’s goal was to turn Critical Role, a Dungeons & Dragons live stream, into a professionally-quality animated special. After this highly successful Kickstarter campaign, the show was picked up by Amazon for a second season.
Travel Tripod By Peak Design – $12,143,435
Raising a staggering $12,143,435 in its original campaign, this sleek travel tripod clearly captured the attention of amateur and pro photographers looking for a more compact alternative to traditional tripods.
With a forward-thinking design that utilizes half the space of a traditional tripod, the travel tripod’s versatile design proved successful on Kickstarter and beyond.
Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5 – $12,383,139
This cooperative horror boardgame raised a total of $12,383,139 from 19,264 backers, becoming one of the most successful boardgames on the platform.
Jumping off of the original success of Kingdom Death: Monster, this survival horror tabletop game leads players in a fight against a litany of scary creatures, while struggling to rebuild civilization.
Frosthaven By Isaac Childres – $12,969,608
The sequel to the 2017 game Gloomhaven, this 2020 campaign for the dungeon crawling game, Frosthaven, raised a total of $12,969,608, making it the most successful game on the fundraising platform. Delivered in March 2021, and boosted by the popularity of the previous game, Gloomhaven, the new chapter saw a great deal of success.
Coolest Cooler – $13,285,226
Raising a total of $13,285,226 from 62,642 backers, this high-tech drink cooler ended up becoming one of the crowdsourcing platform’s biggest failures when it failed to meet its goal and was unable to ship its cooler to 1/3 of its backers.
Originally supposed to ship in 2014, the company delayed shipments repeatedly until announcing in 2019 that they were officially cancelling the project and going out of business. With a Bluetooth speaker, built-in blender, and a USB charger, it seems the $185 price and quick turnaround were hurdles too big for the company to get over.
Pebble Time – $20,338,986
With voice control, a colour display, a waterproof build, and seven days of battery life, all back in 2015, it’s easy to see why 78,471 people helped make the update to the original Pebble smartwatch the most funded project in Kickstarter history, with $20,338,986 raised by the end of its campaign.
This, in addition to the Pebble 2 and original Pebble, both of which take up spots in the list of most funded Kickstarter campaigns, makes it hard to believe in 2016 the company announced they were ending production of all products. In a crowded marketplace of smartwatches, a small player like Pebble just couldn’t compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung.