Innovation on Kickstarter: The 10 Top-Funded Tech Ideas of 2014

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creative projects, and many of the most-successful crowdfunding campaigns have involved board games like the Bones figurines that Reaper Miniatures created for its Dark Heaven line, card games like Exploding Kittens, public-minded programs like Reading Rainbow, and films like the Veronica Mars movie project.

Nevertheless, Gallagher and Dimatos said that Kickstarter experienced its own version of a “Netscape moment” in 2010, when a crowdfunding campaign for the Glif, a gadget that enabled people to attach their iPhone to a standard camera tripod, raised over $50,000 in its first two days of fundraising. The project set out to raise $10,000, and ultimately raised $137,417.

Two years later, the crowdfunding campaign for the Pebble smartwatch proved to be an even bigger moment. After setting a fundraising goal of $100,000 on Kickstarter, Palo Alto, CA-based Pebble Technology raised nearly $10.3 million. The Pebble also raised expectations about the kind of impact a crowdfunding campaign could have on innovation.

“Before Pebble, people didn’t know they wanted a smartwatch,” said Dimatos. “After Pebble, people wanted to know, ‘Where is my jet-pack future?’”
It’s hard to predict just what the next jet-pack might be, but some technology trends stand out, including video games, 3D printers, drones, innovations in food and drink products, and Oculus-like virtual reality interfaces for entertainment. Here’s our nationwide list of the top-funded projects of 2014 on Kickstarter:

1) Coolest Cooler, with a goal of $50,000, raised $13.28 million from 62,642 backers in August. Invented by Ryan Grepper of Portland, OR, the 60-quart cooler includes a blender, a waterproof Bluetooth speaker, USB charger, cutting board and other features for a portable party.

Pono player

Pono player

2) PonoMusic player, with a goal of $800,000, raised $6.2 million from 18,220 backers in April. Based in San Francisco and driven by frontman Neil Young, PonoMusic set out to create a system for audiophiles that would play at the same quality level as the original recording. The Pono Player, with a triangular shape like a Toblerone chocolate bar, is a portable music player designed to play high-resolution music files that use up to 20 times more data than MP3 files.

3) The Micro 3D Printer, with a goal of $50,000, raised $3.4 million from 11,855 backers in May. Bethesda, MD-based M3D set out to create an affordable and consumer-friendly 3D printer that can be … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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4 responses to “Innovation on Kickstarter: The 10 Top-Funded Tech Ideas of 2014”

  1. Bryan says:

    I think you meant ‘high-fidelity’ rather and ‘high-resolution’ music file for the Pono, unless you’re talking about the album art.

    • Bruce V. BigelowBVBigelow says:

      Bryan you’re right! I think “resolution” in this case refers to the claims that the Pono player is designed to play back digital music files that use up to 20 times more data than MP3 files. They say their digital audio files are not compressed like the MP3 format, and Pono frequently describes their audio quality as a better or higher digital resolution. I adopted their language without thinking about it as deeply as you have!

  2. Kevin Shiflett says:

    Hey everyone. My Kickstarter is now at 30% towards its goal, but I need your help to reach 100!

  3. YeahRight says:

    The article got it right. The most important thing is that startups can test if there is an actual market for the product. If you can’t sell it to the crowd, it’s very likely that you can’t sell it, period.