The Most Successful Crowdfunded Inventions in History

Are you curious to know how some of the world’s greatest inventions found success through crowdfunding? Discover the top crowdfunded inventions that innovators used to launch their products into the public eye. From smart thermostats to new health monitors, these crowdfunded innovations have transformed our lives. Be inspired and find out how you could use crowdfunding for your own project success!

History of Crowdfunding


Crowdfunding is a method of financing a project or venture by asking for small financial donations from many people. It is generally conducted through an online platform, allowing individuals to contribute money that typically goes toward the development of a product or service, often in return for rewards.

The modern concept of crowdfunding dates back to 1997 when artist E.E Williams solicited funds to create an interactive CD-ROM. Fans who pledged received a limited edition version of the release and autographed copies were donated to libraries worldwide. Since then, crowdfunding has become increasingly popular with art projects, films, and technology products leading the way in terms of successful campaigns and popularizing the way people finance ideas. Today, there are companies that help you with ideas, patents, and other legal issues – visit here for more info.

Famous Crowdfunded Inventions

Crowdfunding is a relatively new concept, but in its short lifespan, it has revolutionized the way people bring their ideas and inventions to reality. In recent years, several venture-backed schemes have been particularly successful at raising massive amounts of money from fans, which have then gone on to turn out some serious success stories. Here’s what we consider the most famous crowdfunding inventions of all time:

  • Pebble Smartwatch – The original Pebble smartwatch is credited with fully ushering the modern wearable technology era into existence. Launched in April 2012, creator Eric Migicovsky managed to raise an astounding USD 10 million from 85,000 backers on Kickstarter. The company now offers an array of stylish and useful watches.
  • Formlabs 3D Printer – With help from 3D printing enthusiasts around the world, Formlabs raised USD 3 million in late 2012 via Kickstarter to help create a high-quality desktop 3D printer that they would later call the Form1+. Their campaign excited software experts and advanced engineering professionals who wanted quick and accurate access at all times to prints made using PLA filament.
  • Oculus Rift – Oculus VR managed to raise over USD 2 million through Kickstarter in August 2012 for their virtual reality headset called the ‘Rift’. Afterward, Facebook acquired them for a hearty USD 2 billion; by far one of the most successful acquisitions of a crowdfunded product ever! The headset has made it easy for consumers as well as corporate firms to make use of virtual reality applications much more easily than traditionally done before now.

The Pebble Smartwatch


The Pebble smartwatch was a product created by Pebble Technology Corporation and launched on Kickstarter in 2012. It quickly gained popularity and became the most successful crowdfunding project ever at the time, surpassing its $100,000 goal in under two hours. The Pebbles successfully raised up to $10 million, making it one of the first products to prove that crowdfunding could make successful products. The Pebble smartwatch had simple design goals: it should be simple, customizable, and connected.

The Pebble Watch was designed to sync wirelessly with iPhones and Android smartphones using Bluetooth technology, allowing users to view message notifications, control music playback, or even use GPS-based apps on their wrists. It also featured an e-paper display which made it visible in direct sunlight without needing a backlight. Its open-source application development platform made it easy for developers to create custom apps for the watch. The app store included fitness trackers and city guides as well as custom games like Tetris or Pac-Man.

Although Pebble Technology declared bankruptcy in December 2016 there is still a following of devoted developers and loyalists who are continuing to tweak existing features as well as develop new ones for newer versions of the watch that are available today.

Oculus Rift


The Oculus Rift was a groundbreaking virtual reality gaming system and one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever. It topped $2.4 million in pledges on Kickstarter, where it launched in 2012. The campaign was then picked up by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who stepped in to purchase OculusVR for $2 billion.

After years of anticipation, the Oculus Rift officially launched in March 2016 as the first-ever high-end consumer virtual reality headset with its groundbreaking ability to transport users into multidimensional worlds. It became the benchmark for immersive virtual reality and since then many other companies have released their own similar headsets.

The success of the Oculus Rift is considered a major tipping point for crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, signaling that there was money to be made from backing innovative projects with little risk or cost upfront – especially for companies that could accept large funding offers from venture capitalists or tech giants.

The ubiquity of crowdfunding has since expanded significantly, allowing people from all walks of life to back projects with small amounts of money and even receive products before they officially hit store shelves – something that wasn’t possible before the success of Oculus Rift’s campaign on Kickstarter.

Exploding Kittens


Exploding Kittens is among the most successful crowdfunded inventions in history. Developed by the team at The Oatmeal and comedians Elan Lee and Matthew Inman, Exploding Kittens is a fun and interactive card game with a unique twist—if drawn from the deck, players have to try to avoid an exploding kitten.

The campaign for Exploding Kittens started in February 2015 and quickly escalated by raising over four times its goal of $10,000 in just two weeks. By the end of March 2015, Exploding Kittens had raised an astonishing $8.7 million for the project, making it one of the most successful crowdfunding initiatives ever created.

Players try to defuse the (literal) ticking time bomb with the help of special cards that help them avert disaster while they get rid of all their cards faster than any other player—it’s whimsical, unpredictable, and represents a new take on casual gaming that has enticed both casual gamers and seasoned card warriors alike. Since then, its popularity only continues to grow as one of the most successful projects ever run through crowdfunding services like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

Diverse Crowdfunding Platforms


While many are familiar with mainstream crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, the modern crowdfunding landscape is vast and diverse. Different platforms cater to distinct niches, ensuring a more tailored approach for various projects. Patreon, for instance, provides a platform for content creators—from podcasters to artists—to secure regular, sustained income from their fanbase. On the other hand, SeedInvest focuses on startups, allowing investors to back new ventures in exchange for equity. The rise of these specialized platforms allows prospective backers to target their support more precisely and project creators to find a more relevant audience. Those wishing to learn more about niche-specific platforms would benefit from exploring this diverse landscape.

Challenges Faced

Crowdfunding’s allure is undeniable, with countless success stories of inventors and entrepreneurs achieving their dreams. However, a fuller picture reveals challenges and risks. Not every campaign reaches its funding goal, and even successful ones might encounter unforeseen complications. Production delays, cost overruns, and changing regulations can thwart even the best-laid plans. Moreover, there’s always a risk that the final product may differ from the prototype or not meet backers’ expectations. This reality underscores the importance of understanding the challenges and managing expectations. By offering this additional info, backers can make more informed decisions.

Tips for Crowdfunding Success

As the crowdfunding arena becomes more crowded, standing out and ensuring success requires strategy and planning. Here are some guidelines for potential creators:

Set Realistic Funding Goals: Understand the costs involved in your project. Account for production, marketing, and unforeseen expenses.

Engaging Campaign Videos: Visual storytelling can resonate powerfully with potential backers. A well-produced video that showcases your passion and the project’s significance can make a huge difference.

Build a Supportive Community: Engage with potential backers well before launching the campaign. Cultivate relationships on social media, offer sneak peeks, and gather feedback.

Impact on Innovation


Crowdfunding is not just a funding mechanism—it’s a catalyst for innovation. Several crowdfunded projects have made significant waves in their respective industries. For example, Pebble, initially funded on Kickstarter, played a pivotal role in popularizing smartwatches, leading tech giants to delve deeper into wearable technology. Similarly, board games funded on platforms like Kickstarter have rejuvenated the tabletop gaming industry. Crowdfunding allows inventors to test market demand and gather feedback, ultimately leading to products better aligned with consumer desires. Furthermore, the success of crowdfunded projects has made traditional investors and larger companies take notice, influencing where they direct their resources.

Legal and Intellectual Property Considerations

A crucial but sometimes overlooked aspect of crowdfunding is the intellectual property (IP) involved. Before showcasing an invention to the world, creators must ensure that their ideas are protected. This might involve filing for patents, which can prevent others from making, using, or selling the invention for a certain period. Additionally, copyrights can protect original works of authorship, such as campaign videos or written content. Protecting one’s IP isn’t just about prevention—it’s also about ensuring that creators retain the rights to further develop and profit from their inventions. Inventors considering crowdfunding should seek legal counsel to navigate these complexities, ensuring their hard work remains safeguarded.


The success of these prominent crowdfunded inventions demonstrates the power of a strong idea and an enthusiastic customer base. Crowdfunding platforms have the potential to get people excited about the products they love and to make the dreams of inventors and entrepreneurs a reality.

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