* Double Fine Adventure - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/66710809/double-fine-adv...
* The Banner Saga - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stoic/the-banner-saga
* Wasteland 2 - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/inxile/wasteland-2
* Shadowrun Returns - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1613260297/shadowrun-ret...
Even smaller games are getting funding this way:
* Valdis Story - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/460275866/valdis-story-a...
* Echoes of Eternia - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1465600975/echoes-of-ete...
And not just electronic games, but pen and paper RPGs too:
You can buy micro-currency in advance and in exchange receive perks similar to KickStarter. By running it themselves, Grinding Gears gets access to the funds and can dish out the benefits immediately.
And most importantly, people are doing this all with an open heart, actually being happy to encourage and assist innovation and creation of new products. I would say that kickstarter is one of the coolest and world-changing website (more than a website.. product, idea) of this decade.
Consumer electronics is just one of the areas KS is disrupting. Software and games are another one. But there are basically no limits! I wholeheartedly believe that once KS is popular enough if someone came with a project to send a video camera to the moon (on which you can buy video time to simply rotate it and look around) it would get funded right away.
When one or two of highly publicized projects fold, I expect a good amount of Kickstarter complaints.
For example, I could see DropBox raising a sizable seed round on KickStarter if it was an option when they launched. (Free 250gb plan for a year with a donation of $50.)
Some SEC rules or something?
EDIT: Then imagine how motivated those 1000's of others would be to promote a startup they owned a stake in.
But that was part of the recent JOBS act. You'll be able to do that soon for good or ill.
I'm most interested in how they deal with the rights of these investors. Will they be able to demand to inspect books of startups they invested in? Will they have voting rights?
It could get dicey, especially with unsophisticated investors.
Essentially it's because of SEC. First of all you have (had) the 500 limit for investors, so any fundraiser where only, let's say 400 people, could give money would be rather shitty.
Then the other part was that if you wanted to invest in early stage startups, you have to be an accredited investor. That is you have to either make 200K a year for the last two years (or 300K together with a spouse) or have $1 million in the bank. So again, not too many people fill those requirements.
In terms of companies that were still attempting this, http://www.profounder.com/ is one of the bigger ones. They (sort of) made it work through some loopholes as far as I knew.
Games are another example eridius pointed out, showing 6 successful projects out of the 10000s of games that will be produced outside of Kickstarter this year! What's happening is in some cases awesome but it's not disruption.
Day 1: Disruptive company is formed.
Day 2: Disrupted industry in flames, disruptive company wins!
So true. Kickstarter is Wordpress for gadgets; anyone with an idea and some talent and experience can make something without first needing to get pre-approved by some self-appointed authority.
I think anywhere where someone says "you can't do that" is ripe for this kind of disruption. So what's next?
I don't know if that's just the success rate of crossing the funding threshold or success rate of delivering the project as well.
I've never even considered that the consumer electronics projects are art in their own right.
I've only funded a CD for my friends' band, but if I wasn't a student (aka, had disposable income), there are quite a few things in the consumer electronics space that I would have loved to pick up.
An art project like the one mentioned is relatively small. CE projects, which want to ship millions of units is an entirely different affair, usually costing millions of dollars and large teams composed of many different specialities.
Even if you did raise $5 million USD you still need a design team and manufacturing. And there's no guarantee of success either. I just don't see Kickstarter helping much.
The real force here is small-batch manufacturing, which has been a long time in coming. Laser cutters, water-jet cutters, 3D printers, and - perhaps more importantly - the technology to enter a credit card number, press a button, and ship your CAD drawings around the world to a shop in some Chinese city where a team of machinists can whip up a thousand units for small amounts of money.
But the way this technology manifests to US consumers is via Kickstarter campaigns.
And, sure, if you want to scale any of these Kickstarters up to millions of units you'll need a real manufacturing team and capital. But, as with software startups, it's easier to raise capital once you've found product/market fit. And here we have the other advantage of Kickstarter: It makes it easier than ever to find and energize a collection of early customers.
Actually, there is one area where rapid proto has helped, and that is with PCB manufacturing. It is relatively easy to get boards done quickly. The board outlines are done with CNC, and the holes are often laser drilled.
But your job is definitely not over when you email the design file, in many ways it is just beginning.
They have a small team, single designer. Although they built a consumer electronics product before they seem to run on fairly limited funding.
Although I don't know of any Kickstarted consumer electronics designs that have already shipped successfully, so maybe the specific viability is not yet proven.
Remember, we're talking CE, so every penny counts. Unless they've assembled a very good team, that thing will retail for over $100.
If the product seems like it might be successful, somebody like Samsung will jump in right away with a competing product for $50 USD. And 6 months after that the Chinese clones will be coming in at $30. Good luck trying to turn enough profit to fund development of the cost-down version.
The big boys like Samsung and Foxconn are so vertically integrated. It is tough to compete with them when they can buy the chips at a much lower price than you can.
But the point (for me) is that they're developing a piece of consumer electronics that is actually useful. Right now there's (AFAIK) nothing there comparable to Pebble (wearable, nice-looking, programmable e-paper interface to smartphones). It's a hacker gadget, something that is heavily useful and can be made even more by anyone with a bit of free time on their hands. It's a very rare situation in consumer electronics market (Android is kind of new here, and vendors are going out of their way to break it anyway).
So yes, let's have Samsung jump in with a competing product for $50. And then maybe Nokia, or someone else. I would be happy to see that, because an useful tool would appear on market, and it doesn't really matter who provides it, as long as it's not crap.
From the $99 pledge description: "This watch will retail for more than $150"
They've already sold devices for blackberry so they have a good grasp of what the costs are: http://getinpulse.com/
They now have what are essentially pre-orders for over 25K devices at around $115 a piece so they're on course to make a good profit on the first generation, and they'll have the brand, ecosystem, and everything they learned making the first generation to make the second generation devices a better offering than anything the competition can put together. They're targeting smart phone users who don't mind paying a premium so price won't necessarily be the deciding factor.
It's a business that requires high startup capital, and where uncertainty comes with much greater costs than software. You're going to be making thousands of units of whatever it is you're making if you want it to be even remotely cost effective.
So, a method of funding where customers vote with their wallets before you face the biggest headache in consumer electronics--turning a design/prototype into something mass produced--sounds like a great fit.
There's lot of creativity to be unleashed in building new technology, tools and practical gadgets (as opposed to what typical commercial gadget is). And Kickstarter tech projects are definitely awesome-first, money-next type of projects - maybe because people involved are often building them for themselves? I hope to see more such projects, I will be happy to back them.
Why would it be dubious to have them be included as a fundable project? Am I missing something?
I would also disagree that these items can even be considered consumer electronics, they are widgets at best and really destined for a large consumer market.
Kickstarter is a great platform but like the instagram sale recieves too much hype whenever something big goes up.
When they now get a banking license or an other type of SEC "enter random monetary regulating body" blessing, the finacial industry should worry! ;-O)
Are there a lot of regulations to be aware of?