10 Top Tech Crowdfunding Success Stories

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-05-15
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    10 Top Tech Crowdfunding Success Stories
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    10 Top Tech Crowdfunding Success Stories

    By Don Reisinger
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    Kickstarter: Rediscover Digital Music With Pono
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    Kickstarter: Rediscover Digital Music With Pono

    PonoPlayer is a device that has the support of several prominent musicians, including Neil Young, Tom Petty and Dave Matthews. It is essentially a music-storage product that attempts to deliver the highest-quality music possible. The device supports high-quality tracks through its PonoStore, and tracks can be added similar to the way songs were added to the iPods of yesteryear. Pono claims to deliver the best possible music quality for digital tracks, and it appears many bought the hype: More than 18,000 Kickstarter backers pledged $6.2 million to the project.
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    Indiegogo: The Next-Gen Ubuntu Edge
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    Indiegogo: The Next-Gen Ubuntu Edge

    Ubuntu Edge got all kinds of attention in 2013 after it made its mark on the Indiegogo crowdfunding Website. It is notable for being the first to combine the features of a smartphone and desktop computer in one device. The Edge dual-boots Android and Ubuntu Mobile and also runs on Ubuntu Desktop. The device has 128GB of internal storage and Sapphire glass—a feature that that was supposed to appear in the iPhone 6. The Edge was supposed to be a proof-of-concept but was unable to reach its funding goal, prompting Ubuntu to scuttle the idea. Still, it earns mention here for being the most popular technology product ever on Indiegogo, earning $12.8 million from over 27,000 backers in just one month. Crowdfunding contributors get their money back within five days if a project fails to meet its funding goal.
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    Kickstarter: A Nano Drone Named Zano
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    Kickstarter: A Nano Drone Named Zano

    Those looking for a completely autonomous drone that can fit in a hand and deliver HD video capture should learn more about the Zano drone. The technology is essentially a quadricopter "nano drone" with four choppers to help it soar through the air. It proved extremely popular on Kickstarter, nabbing over 12,000 backers and earning over $3.6 million in pledges.
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    Indiegogo: Axent Headphones Look Like Cute Cat Ears
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    Indiegogo: Axent Headphones Look Like Cute Cat Ears

    The Axent Wear Cat Ear Headphones are designed for those who, well, want to look like a cat and listen to music while doing it. The device has standard ear cups on the headphones but also features catlike "ears" at the top that light up. Despite the odd design, Axent proved popular, earning $3.4 million from about 21,000 backers.
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    Kickstarter: The Micro Is All About 3D Printing
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    Kickstarter: The Micro Is All About 3D Printing

    The 3D printing craze is on, and companies across the globe are trying to capitalize by delivering products that will allow users to print their own creations in full 3D. The Micro 3D printer was a Kickstarter hit that was backed by nearly 12,000 backers and raised $3.4 million. The product is designed to sit on a desk and provide full 3D printing features. It's a small product compared with some of the larger, enterprise-friendly 3D printers on the market, but it's an awfully popular one.
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    Indiegogo: Jibo Intelligent Robot Alerts to Its Surroundings
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    Indiegogo: Jibo Intelligent Robot Alerts to Its Surroundings

    Jibo is a rather interesting product developed by robotics expert Dr. Cynthia Breazeal. Jibo is an intelligent robot that has two high-res cameras to track faces and capture photos and has artificial intelligence features to adapt to a person's way of life. It also can listen to its surroundings and communicate with others. Jibo's interesting features earned it high marks on Indiegogo, as it raised $2.3 million from more than 5,500 people.
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    Kickstarter: Sense Helps You Sleep Better
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    Kickstarter: Sense Helps You Sleep Better

    Sense is a compelling product for consumers who want to get a handle on their sleep patterns and get more rest. The technology is shaped like an egg and comes with a "pill" that connects to the pillow and wirelessly transmits data to a smartphone. The Sense analyzes movement, ambient light and other information, and provides recommendations on how users can improve their sleep. It was wildly popular last year, scoring support from more than 19,000 backers and earning $2.4 million.
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    Indiegogo: Canary Chirps for Home Security
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    Indiegogo: Canary Chirps for Home Security

    Home security products are surprisingly popular on crowdfunding sites, but none has been as popular as Canary. The device is a single product that features an HD camera; multiple sensors to track motion, temperature and air quality; and communications with a companion mobile app. Canary has night vision, a siren and many other features designed to make it useful for basic home security. It raised about $2 million from nearly 7,500 backers.
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    Kickstarter: Earin Earbuds Look Impossibly Small
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    Kickstarter: Earin Earbuds Look Impossibly Small

    Earin is designed to be a credible alternative to the earbuds from Apple that many music and audio lovers use. But rather than try to compete on design, Earin is going for something else: a victory on size. The company's wireless earbuds are billed as the "world's smallest," but the devices also reportedly offer solid audio quality. Earin earned over $1.5 million from nearly 8,400 backers.
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    Indiegogo: Jolla Delivers Mobility
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    Indiegogo: Jolla Delivers Mobility

    The Jolla tablet is one of the newest entrants in this roundup. Unlike so many other slates that run on Google's Android, the Jolla differentiated itself by offering version 2.0 of Sailfish, an entirely separate mobile operating system centered on privacy and security. That operating system, coupled with the Jolla's design, paid off: The device attracted over 21,500 funders who helped the company raise $2.6 million.
 

Crowdfunding has become a popular way for budding technology companies to get started. Rather than going to venture capitalists seeking hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in return for shares in the new company, startups turn to crowdfunding Websites to raise cash from many individual small investors. These investors might put up as little as $10 or a few hundred dollars and receive some kind of reward in its place. The return on their investments could range from a simple thank you to multiple units of the product the company is developing. Startups producing a wide range of tech gadgets—from sleep trackers to full-scale computers—have raised millions of dollars from crowdsourcing sites, enough to develop their products and become going concerns. To celebrate this entrepreneurship, this slide show highlights some of the more prominent tech crowdfunding success stories. All of these ventures have moved beyond the crowdfunding stage with products that have caught the attention of buyers and, in most cases, are now self-sustaining operations. Read on to learn about some of the most successful crowdfunded tech ventures.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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