Crowdfunding has revolutionized the way entrepreneurs and innovators bring their ideas to life. Reward-based crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo enable individuals and startups to raise millions of dollars to fund their projects through pre-orders. This blog post takes a closer look at the Top 10 reward crowdfunding projects of all time, showcasing the incredible diversity and creativity that crowdfunding has unleashed.
Startup businesses and entrepreneurs are able to raise funding in advance of actually manufacturing their products, de-risking the production process while bringing their ideas and creations to the marketplace. Early adopters and experimental consumers are able to access new products, often from previously unknown providers.
To generate over $1 million of pre-orders is definitely no easy matter, let alone $10 million. Stats provided by Kickstarter show that under 41% of projects succeed. Of those that have done, which number over 246,000, just 0.31% raised $1 million or more. Comparable data is not provided by Indiegogo.
We can begin our Top 10 by confirming the Pebble Time Smartwatch is no longer the most funded reward-based crowdfunding project!
The Top 10 Reward-Based Crowdfunding Projects of All Time
- The top spot is taken by Surprise!, four secret novels by Brandon Sanderson, an award-winning author of fantasy books. These books appeal to both existing and new readers as they are stand-alone novels. As of April 2022, the project on Kickstarter had raised $41,754,153.
- The Pebble Time Smartwatch had previously shattered records on Kickstarter, raising over $20 million to prove the demand for wearable technology. It was one of the first smartwatches to gain mainstream attention.
- The Mate X is a low-cost foldable e-bike that raised $17.7 million, on the Indiegogo platform in June 2023. It also featured a display providing info on mileage, speed, battery charge, and other personalised options.
- The Babymaker e-bike raised $13.7 million from more than 9,800 backers. This unique e-bike (at the time) combined the best features of both traditional bicycles and electric bikes. It was super lightweight, and had a concealed battery with no wiring on show to possibly get in the way or snag.
- Flow Hive began in Australia, and disrupted beekeeping by allowing honey to be extracted without disturbing the bees. Harvesting honey has always been a complicated process, not suitable for everyone, but Flow Hive eliminates a lot of hard work such as smoking the bees, carrying the heavy frames around and removing wax caps. This innovative system meant just adding a tap into the hive and harvesting honey directly into jars. The project raised $14.9 million on Indiegogo in 2015.
- The Coolest Cooler became the ultimate party accessory, featuring a built-in blender, Bluetooth speaker, and USB charger. It raised over $13 million in 2014 and set crowdfunding records for its wide range of features. Five years later, while still shipping original orders, it was severely affected by a 25% rise in US import tariffs on products from China, and announced it was going out of business. By that time around one third of the original crowdfunding backers were still waiting for their Coolest Cooler.
- Frosthaven. At $12,969,608, this is the most-funded Kickstarter project in the board game category. However, even though the Kickstarter campaign ended in May 2020, the 83,00-plus backers are still waiting for delivery.
- Ubuntu Edge is a smartphone that uses Ubuntu Touch Software as well as Android and it managed to raise $12.7 million from more than 27,000 backers.
- EcoFlow DELTA Pro broke Kickstarter’s record for the most funded tech project. The portable home battery brand raised over $12 million via a two-month crowdfunding campaign ending in September 2021.
- Kingdom Death Monster is a difficult board game about survival in a nightmare-horror world. Survivors fight for their lives against an onslaught of bizarre and fearsome creatures. They will use the fruits of these battles to build a fragile civilization in a place where humans are at the bottom of a monstrous ecology. By October 2nd, 2023 it had raised $12,393,139 on Kickstarter, and it continued to run for players to buy game add-ons.
These $10 million-plus reward crowdfunding projects represent the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit of creators around the world. Some have redefined industries, solved everyday problems, and brought joy to countless people. Crowdfunding continues to be a powerful platform for turning dreams into reality, proving that with the support of a passionate community, almost any idea can find its place in the market.
However, always remember that a crowdfunding pre-order is not the same as ordering an item on Amazon or eBay, with guaranteed delivery. A project that generates a massive order book can still fail. Over-succeeding can create eventual supply chain and manufacturing problems. Where products are still at a development stage, too much added refinement or over-engineering can increase final unit production costs above the figures used at the crowdfunding stage. Inexperienced business founders can find themselves at the mercy of shrewder operators, and backers may find themselves out on a limb.
Nevertheless, as crowdfunding platforms evolve, we can only imagine what incredible projects lie ahead in the world of innovation and creativity.
BOLD Awards V
‘Boldest Crowdfunding’ is one of 33 categories in the 2024 fifth edition of BOLD Awards for companies, projects, and individuals in the digital economy that are leading the way for positive impact. The winner will be a crowdfunding campaign that delivered much more than funding alone. Projects entered into this category should be able to demonstrate the steps taken to invite others to support their cause and help raise funding. You can enter now and amend your submission as many times as you want until December 31st, 2023. After a round of public voting and appraisal by an international panel of judges, finalists will gather at a gala dinner award ceremony on March 22, 2024, in Venice, Italy.
Check out the 2023 Boldest Crowdfunding winner.