Kickstarter has been many a startup’s dream come true.
Offering the potential to truly take off, startups have flocked to the crowdfunding site in the hopes of sidestepping venture capitalists and turbo-charging their projects.
So who are the biggest Kickstarter winners, and what are they up to now?
Kickstarter breaks its funding projects down into 13 categories such as design, games, photography, and technology to name a few.
So we compiled a list of the highest funded projects from each category, telling a bit about what they are, how successful they were, and what they’ve been up to since taking the coveted No. 1 spot.
Goal: $100,000 Raised: $10,266,845
The Pebble smartwatch is currently the most funded project on Kickstarter. Once you pair your Pebble to your iPhone or Android phone via Bluetooth, you can receive text messages and phone call notifications. The world's first widely successful smartwatch, Pebble recently announced that Best Buy will now sell the smartwatch in its stores for $150. You can pick one up today.
Goal: $100,000 Raised: $2,945,885
The Form 1 is one of the first 'affordable' high-resolution 3D printers out there, though the $3,299 price tag doesn't exactly target the casual enthusiast. But for labs, schools, and designers, the Form 1 offers a stereolithography machine capable of crafting detailed work.
Formlabs is currently letting Kickstarter backers redeem their Form 1, while new customers can pre-order a printer via their website, with an expected shipping date of October.
Goal: $50,000 Raised: $590,807
A collaboration between NPR and This American Life, Planet Money set out to document the journey of a t-shirt, from inception to production. Naturally, they decided to fund the project with the actual t-shirts they'll be producing from scratch, offering people the chance to own a cool shirt while helping out some investigative reporting.
With the project's crowdfunding wrapping up in May, the team is hard at work figuring out the manufacturing process so that the shirts will arrive on time, sometime in September.
Goal: $10,400 Raised: $313,341
Artist Jed Henry set out make authentic woodblock prints of classic video game characters and their iconic scenes, all represented in the timeless style of Japanese woodblock. After raising more than 30 times their Kickstarter goal, Henry and master woodblock printer David Bull have mailed out many art prints already, and are currently expanding the woodblock offerings, while documenting the painstaking process the whole way.
Goal: $57,750 Raised: $1,254,120
'The Order of the Stick' is a popular comedy/fantasy webcomic series that has gained a loyal following. Printed collections of the comic stopped being produced in 2010, however, and its creators started a Kickstarter to dust off the old printing presses and make the collections available again.
Over a year later, author Rich Burlew has shipped out all of the physical Kickstarter rewards, and has been constantly updating his progress with a humorous 'Workometer' that details everything still to be done.
Goal: $100,000 Raised: $175,395
The Catlow theatre in Barrington, Illinois offered cheap tickets and a historic setting. But in order to continue to screen the newest films, The Catlow needed to retrofit the cinema with a digital projector and screen for $100,000.
After a successful Kickstarter, The Catlow was not only able to upgrade their projection system and screen, but used the extra funds for other necessary fix-ups including a new heating system.
Goal: $1,000,000 Raised: $1,505,366
Calling itself the world's 'first publicly accessible telescope,' the ARKYD will give people control, allowing them to take their own pictures of space. With an onboard screen capable of displaying photos, backers will also be able to get a picture of themself. In space.
Due to popular demand, the team extended the deadline to sign up for rewards to July 19th, and is busy building both the ARKYD and a test spacecraft A3.
Goal: $100,000 Raised: $1,192,793
After a horrible experience with a major label, musician Amanda Palmer arrived on the Kickstarter scene with a new band, new label, and a new plan. Palmer turned to her fans for money for the album, art book, tour, distribution, and promotion, and her fans delivered.
Since then, Palmer has given a TED talk on her experience, delivered on Kickstarter rewards such as fan house parties, and embarked on her tour.
Goal: $950,000 Raised: $8,596,474
The Ouya took the gaming world by storm, promising an open source Android game console for only $99. With a beautiful design from Yves Behar and endorsements from 'Minecraft' creator, Notch, fans reacted enthusiastically.
It has since launched to mediocre reviews, most of which focus on the lack of quality games -- a problem easily remedied. The Ouya is available at Amazon, Target, Best Buy, and Game Stop.
Goal: $35,000 Raised: $38,752
With a desire to educate the next generation of ballet dancers around the world, the Youth America Grand Prix planned to put on a 'Ballet's Greatest Hit' Gala. With a professionally produced documentary the key ingredient, the YAGP looked to Kickstarter to raise the remaining $35,000 needed to produce the film.
With a successful Gala performance on January 5th, 2012, the documentary has since cleared post production and was recently screened in the United States.
Goal: $50,000 Raised: $1,053,830
With a full 10 year guarantee and a quality design meant to last for life, The 10-Year Hoodie team waged war against cheaply made expensive clothing. The unisex design promises to become your favourite hoodie, and is backed with free mending as well to give it some character.
Over $1 million later, the team claims to be three weeks ahead of schedule, with a delivery date for the hoodies set for October.
Goal: $2,000,000 Raised: $5,702,153
Breaking the record for the highest number of individual Kickstarter backers, Kristen Bell successfully convinced her loyal 'marshmallows' to fund a movie follow-up to her 'Veronica Mars' TV series.
The Kickstarter has since spurred a lively discussion on Kickstarter's use by celebrities, with Zach Braff following suit with his own crowdfunded film. The Veronica Mars movie is slated to hit theatres in early 2014, with digital copies going out to their respective backers days later.
Goal: $200,000 Raised: $586,061
The Nomiku offers the casual cook the chance to try their hand with immersion circulator technology to cook sous vide (slow-cooked meals in air tight bags immersed in water). The Nomiku clamps to the edge of any pot, and by sealing food in a zip block bag immersed in water, the Nomiku cooks dishes 'just right.'
A year after its Kickstarter funding completed, the Nomiku is available to the general public for pre-order, costing $359.
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