Since it launched in 2009, crowdfunding platform Kickstarter has raised over $5.4 million for more than 190,000 budding products and projects and it’s become a great way for creative minds to get their ideas off the ground and into production.
But what have been the biggest Kickstarter success stories in that time, which have raised the most money through crowdfunding? And what kind of products and industries have seen the biggest success? To find out, we’ve analysed the 200 Kickstarter projects that have received the biggest financial backing.
Total amount pledged - $20.3 million
Average amount pledged - $259
The second-generation Pebble smartwatch hit Kickstarter in 2015, the same year that the first Apple Watch launched and it looked like wearable tech was ready to take over the world. Riding that wave of interest, they raised an incredible $20.3 million, although unfortunately, things didn’t quite go as planned from there, as the company racked up debts and was eventually sold off to Fitbit.
Total amount pledged - $13.3 million
Average amount pledged - $212
The Coolest Cooler was another big Kickstarter success that unfortunately didn’t stand the test of time, especially as it was seemingly a really great idea: a multi-function drinks cooler which included gadgets such as a built-in blender, LED light, USB charger and water-resistant Bluetooth speaker.
Total amount pledged - $13 million
Average amount pledged - $156
Many games have seen success on Kickstarter, including both, video games and traditional tabletop games, with Frosthaven proving to be the most successful example. A sequel to another Kickstarter game, Gloomhaven, the board game raised just under $13 million from over 83,000 backers, at an average pledge of $156.
Backers - 219,382
Total amount pledged - $8.8m
Don’t worry, it’s not quite as barbaric as the name suggests. Exploding Kittens is actually a card game, one of many physical games which have seen huge success on the platform, receiving donations from an incredible 219,000 people and going on to sell over 9 million copies around the world.
Backers - 154,926
Total amount pledged - $6.5m
Before the fidget spinner, there was the fidget cube, designed for those people who can’t help but fidget when sat at their desk at work or school, fitted with various buttons to help you focus on the task at hand. The fidget cube wound up raising almost $6.5 million from over 150,000 people.
Backers - 105,857
Total amount pledged - $5.4m
Kickstarter has also proved to be a route for TV shows and films which were cancelled to still find a route to our screens, which was the case with Reading Rainbow, an educational children’s TV show hosted by LeVar Burton, which went off the air in 2009 after 26 years. However, Kickstarter allowed Reading Rainbow to return as an application to be used in classrooms.
Looking at the makeup of the top 200 most funded projects on Kickstarter, we start to see some definite trends.
Tabletop games are by far the most popular type of project on Kickstarter, making up 33.5% of the top 200, with both the highest number of backers (1.8 million) and the highest amount pledged ($246 million).
In fact, games as a whole made up just less than half (48%) of the 200 most successful Kickstarter projects, with video games also proving popular.
Other categories which have received high levels of backing include product design and tech hardware such as 3D printers, while the categories which received the highest average pledge per backer in the top 200 were fabrication tools ($1,313) and space exploration ($1,107).
We’ve seen which are the types of products and services which get the biggest backing on Kickstarter, but which are the niches which most often turn to Kickstarter for funding, and are therefore the most competitive when it comes to trying to win funding?
There were more product design projects than any other type of project on Kickstarter, with 32,481, accounting for around 8.7% of projects on the platform.
This was followed by tabletop games (26,005), then by documentaries, with 18,113 budding filmmakers looking to get their documentaries off the ground. Interestingly, despite there being such a high number of documentary projects on the site, they didn’t make it into the most-backed or funded sectors.
All figures were sourced directly from Kickstarter and were correct as of 11/11/2020.