Drew Williams | @DrewWillyums “I’m going to invent something awesome!”
The go-to words for anyone and everyone thinking of a way to get rich that doesn’t involve six lucky numbers. When I was younger, I remember seeing commercials for the company Invent Help, with their classic logo of a caveman designing the wheel, all the time. It was, and still is, a company dedicated to helping inventors get their feet off the ground. But in today’s internet age, Invent Help is just about about as outdated as their logo. Crowdfunding has taken off, and websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have made it easy for people with new ideas to get the money they need to turn their vision into a reality.
To celebrate crowdfunding, and to celebrate my love of potato salad, I put together a top 10 list of crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter over the years. The list is based off of three things: The amount of money raised, the amount of visits to the campaign’s Kickstarter page, and my own personal bias towards things I like, which means this will be the most accurate top 10 list on the internet.
10. Oculus Rift
This ranking is based purely off of brand awareness. The Oculus Rift got a lot of publicity after getting announced in 2012 and is looking to be the first game-changer in regards to virtual reality gaming, but initial investors are becoming a little bit skeptical after the company was bought by Facebook for $2 billion. Before that though, they raised $2,437,429 after a goal of $250,000. It has potential to move way up on the list, but also has the potential to be a major disappointment.
9. Mighty No. 9
A fitting spot on the list, Mighty No. 9 is a new retro-style video game from Keiji Inafune, who is most notably known for designing Mega Man. He wanted to create a game that was reminiscent of his former creation, and the amount of backers he received on Kickstarter proved that plenty of other people wanted that too. Mighty No. 9 hit its $900,000 goal after just two days of fundraising, and eventually reached $3,845,170 in donations and is the ninth most viewed campaign in Kickstarter’s history.
8. The Veronica Mars Movie Project
I would be lying if I said I knew a lot about Veronica Mars. But what I do know is this was a show that was on UPN for two seasons that, after the stations downfall, moved to The CW for one season. So after not getting renewed after three seasons on two stations that were subpar, it would be fair to infer it was not a good show. But no matter what you think about it, there’s no denying that it was good enough to develop a cult following from some people, which is what helped this campaign reach over $5 million in donations after a $2 million goal.
7. Bring Back Reading Rainbow for Every Child, Everywhere!
Awesome idea for an awesome cause. It’s the eighth most viewed Kickstarter page in the site’s history, and made $5,408,916 after a $1,000,000 goal, which is letting them expand to more schools than they hoped.
6. Ouya Game Console
In a nutshell, Ouya is a gaming system that lets you play Android games on your TV with a controller, instead of on your phone. A solid idea for the simple fact that a Playstation or Xbox game costs around $60, while an app costs less than five in most cases, making it perfect for children or gamers on a budget. Ouya raised a whopping $8,596,474 after setting a $900,000 goal, and is the most viewed page in Kickstarter’s history.
5. Penny Arcade
Why is Ouya only at number 6 after those kinds of numbers? Because the top 5 are just cooler stories, like Penny Arcade’s Kickstarter. Penny Arcade is a webcomic that focuses on video games, and their campaign was simply to raise enough money to not have to use ads on their website. Unlike Ouya, who had all kinds of people from all over the world donating and spreading the word, Penny Arcade’s backers were only people who read and cared about their comics, which is awesome. They raised over $500,000 after setting a goal of $250,000 and they are the seventh most viewed page on Kickstarter.
Pebble was the first well-known smartwatch, and paved the way for what Android and Apple are trying to do right now. After setting a mere $100,000 goal, Pebble eventually crushed that with over $10,000,000 donated on Kickstarter, which is the fifth most ever by a crowdfunding campaign.
3. Potato Salad
This one is my favorite, but I just can’t bring myself to put it at number one. The title is simple enough, but the description “I’m making potato salad” and the tagline “Basically I'm just making potato salad. I haven't decided what kind yet” really sum it up. Zack Danger Brown essentially just wanted to try his hat at making some potato salad with a $10 goal to help pay for it, and through the power of social media, has raised $55,492. Now he’s going to have a giant potato salad party, with backers being able to attend and some even being mailed their own personal bite of his favorite recipe.
2. The Coolest Cooler
It really is the coolest cooler. It comes equipped with a blender, a bluetooth speaker, a USB charger, LED lights, plates, a cutting board, knives and a lot more. Everyone loves a good cooler, which helped the Coolest Cooler surpass its $50,000 goal to the tune of $13,285,226 on Kickstarter, the third most in the history of crowdfunding.
1. Star Citizen
Star Citizen is a video game due out next year that will have the player feeling like they’re Luke Skywalker. Being developed by Chris Roberts, best known for creating the game Wing Commander, this campaign raised $2,134,174 of a $500,000 goal. But that’s not why it’s number one. After its Kickstarter campaign, Roberts took the campaign to his website where he had continued to raise over $50 million for the game, blowing away the competition for the best crowdfunding campaign of all time.