Since its launch back in April 2009, Kickstarter has become a trailblazer and global leader in the rapidly expanding world of crowdfunding. This week, the platform officially exceeded $1 billion in donations. Astoundingly, over half of this amount was raised in the last year.
A statistical breakdown over at the official Kickstarter blog confirms that approximately 5.7 million people from 225 regions have made donations in the last five years. The blog post goes on to applaud some of the platform’s most influential backers, such as Hope Leman, who has supported over 220 different projects, including toy start-up GoldieBlox.
Finally, the post offers a little perspective on exactly what $1 billion means in today’s economy; it is worth precisely one Instagram, or 1.25 million iPhone 5s handsets, or one nineteenth of WhatsApp, or even one Roman Colosseum (based on a potentially spurious Reddit valuation).
The democratic nature of Kickstarter means that, naturally, a good portion of projects listed have questionable artistic, scientific or commercial merit, and will doubtfully ever come to fruition. However, a number of Kickstarter campaigns have been at the cutting edge when it came to bringing practical, affordable wearable tech into consumers’ day to day lives:
The Pebble Smartwatch broke records when it raised funds of over $1 million in its very first day on Kickstarter in 2012 (smashing an original target of $100,000). It has since opened its own app store, and newer, more stylish Steel incarnation of the product receiving considerable attention at CES this year.
Race Yourself is an app for Google Glass that gained traction on Kickstarter thanks to its novel use of augmented reality. Rather than simply being another personal fitness app, Race Yourself places the user in a video game-like scenario where they need to outrun hordes of zombies, among other challenges.
Another noteworthy Kickstarter success story is the upcoming Veronica Mars movie, which demonstrates the powerful role that the crowdfunding platform can play in bringing passion projects to life when the traditional Hollywood business model fails.