While you were out getting IPAs with friends (or binge-watching on Netflix) last friday night at 10PM ET, the most-funded campaign in the history of Kickstarter was wrapping up after raising a staggering $20 million over its month-long campaign.
Although the previously-successful Pebble Technology company is a far cry than your standard one-man grassroots product launch outfit that’s become synonymous with Kickstarter, their success with the Pebble Time smartwatch over the past month should help validate any questions or doubts that some might have previously had about crowdfunding as a viable route for launching a product into the big leagues.
In addition to raising the most amount of money in the history of Kickstarter, the Pebble Time also holds the title for the fastest-funded product in Kickstarter history after meeting their goal of $500,000 just 20 minutes after launching. Just 30 minutes later – 50 minutes into the campaign – the Pebble Time also became the fastest project to raise one-million dollars.
Since the company started their campaign in February with a pre-established brand and top-selling smartwatch to begin with, it’s easy to assume that they were taking advantage of the popular crowdfunding platform. This isn’t the case – as a matter of fact, Kickstarter has gone above and beyond to ensure that all projects that launch on Kickstarter are launched with a leveled playing field. In a nutshell, this means that although Pebble Technology might have had millions of dollars that they could have spent on any number of marketing campaign assets (including their own independent product launch and ordering page), their Kickstarter page was structurally no different than Aunt Edna’s Kickstarter page for vegan cupcakes that successfully raised $500.
If anything, projects such as these turn more people onto the crowdfunding platform – meaning that an otherwise quiet launch for a small grassroots project could gain thousands of more views thanks to the influx of new traffic thanks to these larger projects from more experienced companies and content creators. Additionally, the project is a lesson in good crowdfunding product launch strategy – similar to how the Coolest Cooler (which previously held the record for most-funded Kickstarter project) launched during the cooler-friendly season of summer, Pebble Technology launched their campaign nearly in-sync with the announcement of the much-anticipated Apple Watch pricing – essentially catching a free ride through all of the media attention surrounding smart watches.
Ultimately, consider the success of the Pebble Time a lesson in getting creative with a crowdfunding launch strategy.
In any case, you can find out more about the development of the Pebble Time by heading over to their Kickstarter Spotlight page.