While the whole concept of crowdfunding has been around for centuries, we know that its modern incarnation only came about in the 21st century thanks to the connectivity of the internet.
While the whole concept of crowdfunding has been around for centuries, we know that its modern incarnation only came about in the 21 century thanks to the connectivity of the internet. Yet, the 2010s was the decade when crowdfunding found its feet and flourished, with platforms like Fundly raising billions for projects globally. Indeed, experts believe that annual crowdfunding will hit $300 billion by 2025. A staggering figure, similar to the current annual revenue of Alphabet Inc (Google) and General Motors combined.
And yet, we should not only judge crowdfunding’s success by the amount of money raised. Big or small, crowdfunding can make a difference to people. Below we would like to share some of our favorite examples of crowdfunded projects and products of the decade just past:
As of today, an unrealized project, one that is perhaps a victim of its vast ambition. Nevertheless, Solar Roadways, a plan to replace roads (and just about everything else we drive and walk-on) with smart solar panels, is precisely the type of bold idea that make crowdfunding exciting. Yes, the plan for Solar Roadways got a lot of criticism, not to mention an estimated $56 trillion cost analysis, but the millions raised on crowdfunding for the project showed that people would get behind a good idea, regardless of the logistics.
Perhaps an example of why comparing all of your options before making a decision are vital in all aspects of crowdfunding, as the much-celebrated Oculus Rift left a sour taste in the mouth of funders when it was acquired by Facebook back in 2014. Many thought that this was a sell-out, given that crowdfunding, had helped the VR headset company rise to prominence. Still, forget all that came after, and celebrate that this product was an exciting vision of the future that ‘the people’ believed in before corporations did.
Proof that you don’t need to be a tech whizz to create a hugely successful product with the help of crowdfunding. Exploding Kittens is a simple card game that had enough charm to entice over 100,000 backers in its first week. Today, Exploding Kittens is a commercial success story, with fans eagerly awaiting updates for the physical and online versions of the game. It’s also received the best kind of flattery – lots of imitators.
Before Apple Watch and Fitbit led the way in wearable technology, the crowdfunding community was keen to get ahead of the market by funding Pebble. By today’s standards, the Pebble smartwatch of 2012 is pretty basic, but back then funders felt they were buying into the future. Again, it’s a story of how the crowdfunding community can perhaps see beyond that of corporate interests, as Pebble’s creators had previously failed to get backing from traditional investors. Fitbit purchased the company in 2016, and Pebble products are no longer in production.
Not all crowdfunding products work out the way we expect, and we mentioned that money alone shouldn’t be the only measure of success. The millions of dollars raised for Ouya wasn’t enough to make it a household name, but it is an example of how no dream is too big on crowdfunding. Why? Because Ouya was designed to challenge the mighty PlayStation, Nintendo, and Xbox in the games console market. It’s now used as a software platform rather than console hardware, but for a time it certainly had the big players in video gaming rattled.
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