This look back at our favorite Kickstarter crowdfunding projects of the year is the second in our series of Christmas Blockbusters. Why Kickstarter? Because this is the year when crowdfunding came of age as a legitimate fund-raising tool for startups. The community has matured, moving beyond celebrity creative and design projects to include innovative academic research and tech manufacturing projects.
Kickstarter is running laps around the competition, and now represents crowdfunding just like Googling is a verb for search. There’s a growing service economy based around Kickstarter projects, with expert consultants providing Kickstarter tips and services just like search marketing experts thrive in the search economy.
The enormous interest is no happy accident, because the Kickstarter community has been pumped up in 2013 and crashed through several record barriers. They breached the five million mark for number of backers, and more than 50,000 creative projects have been funded successfully.
The latest stats (5.293 million backers; 12.476 million pledges; 52,896 successfully funded projects) are a bit pointless because they’ll probably be out of date by the time you read this. However, there’s one very important statistic that has a lot of significance – the total amount pledged so far to Kickstarter projects ($904 million).
Kickstarter is on track to breach the $1 billion mark next year, well before their fifth birthday. That’s not just historic, but also stunning when you consider that the most common pledge is for $25 and most campaigns set a target of less than $10,000.
Let’s get down to our favorite Kickstarter projects for 2013, starting with:-
Transporter – Gives you your very digital storage system that’s online but not on the cloud. You can store your files in the Transporter, and share it or provide access to a limited circle of friends. You can access your files online using a browser or on your mobile phone or tablet. (Kickstarter goal – $100,000; 1,055 backers pledged $260,453).
3Doodler – Leonardo da Vinci must be itching to come back and use the 3Doodler, because this 3D printing pen is just so incredibly innovative. You just draw an object in the air and you’ll have it ready in front of you. (Kickstarter goal – $30,000; 26,457 backers pledged $2,344,134).
Smart Herb Garden – If you don’t have a green thumb, just get the Smart Herb Garden. Plug it in, add water and let it do its thing. Makes growing herbs at home a piece of cake. (Kickstarter goal – $75,000; 10,477 backers pledged $625,851).
Rubbee – This is a detachable electric drive with an integrated battery pack for bicycles. You can just mount it on an ordinary bicycle in a few seconds, and you’ll instantly be coasting on battery power. (Kickstarter goal – £63,000; 214 backers pledged £64,983).
WigWag – This device and app helps you write simple rules for automation in your environment. For example, you could write a rule to turn the fan on when the humidity hits a specific level, or get a text message when a package arrives on the porch. The WigWag sensor block (or other devices with sensors) does the job you tell it to do, using simple language commands issued from your smartphone or tablet. (Kickstarter goal – $50,000; 1,694 backers pledged $454,976).
Pixy – Pixy is a fast-vision sensor which can be taught to recognize, find and track specific objects. It’s an academic project that’s become something of a revolution in robotic vision when used with Arduino as its controller. (Kickstarter goal – $25,000; 2,802 backers pledged $274,352).
Hex – It’s not black magic, but still a marvel of modern technology as the world’s first smartphone controlled nanocopter. Imagine all the things you can do with your own personal drone. (Kickstarter goal – $10,000; 4,670 backers pledged $563,721).
iSketchnote – Again another revolutionary pen that allows you to bridge the gap between doodling on paper and digital sketches. iSketchnote is a smart pad that connects directly to your iPad, or to your PC/Mac through a USB cable. All your sketches digitized in real-time. (Kickstarter goal – $35,000; 2,395 backers pledged $346,127).
Chipolo – Chipolo is a Bluetooth-enabled item finder that works with both the iPhone and Android phones. It works like a GPS locator once you attach it to things that you tend to misplace around the home all the time, such as keys and wallets. You could even attach it to your pet. (Kickstarter goal – $15,000; 5,329 backers pledged $293,014).
Circuit Scribe – This is a rollerball pen that writes with conductive silver ink. If you say you’re creating circuits while you’re doodling, it would still be true. This crowdfunding campaign is still in progress, although they’ve far exceeded the Kickstarter goal of $85,000. As of Dec 5, Circuit Scribe had 8,656 backers who have pledged $451,208, with 26 more days to go.