Pebble Time Kickstarter ends with over $20M in funding

29 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

If a smartwatch replaces your keys, here’s what you put on your keychain.

On Friday night at 10 p.m. It’s no exploding kitten, nor is it a new space-based massively multiplayer online game, but Pebble’s new Time smartwatch—which the company launched on Kickstarter—has raised a record amount in its short month of fundraising. ET, the Pebble Time ended its month-long crowdfunding campaign with over $20 million in pledges, making it the most funded Kickstarter in Kickstarter history by roughly 7 million dollars.

The right mix of hardware will already let you control certain smart locks and start certain automobiles straight from the wrist, and this will only become more prevalent with time. “Not so fast,” you protest. “What happens when my smartwatch’s battery dies on my way back to the parking lot, genius? It managed to raise just around $20.3 million from 78,358 backers, beating the now-second-place Kickstarter project, the Coolest Cooler, which only managed to pull in (a mere) $13.2 million this past March.

Pebble sold its first smartwatch on Kickstarter back in 2012 and, just a few weeks before the Apple Watch launch, has proved it can still drive considerable demand. Pebble Time’s jaw-dropping Kickstarter success is more than just a record: It’s symbolic of just how much the crowdfunding landscape has changed in recent years, from a grassroots space filled with small business owners, artists and designers, to a new avenue for popular tech companies or wealthy celebrities to advertise their latest project. Let’s be clear: This particular NomadKey is not going to save you from a potential lockout, at least not unless you’re in the habit of lugging a laptop around wherever you go. Indeed, the previous Kickstarter record holder, Coolest Cooler, is a posterchild for crowdfunding’s DIY roots, hailing from a Portland-based entrepreneur who failed many times to meet a modest goal before raising more than $13 million from over 62 thousand people.

That honor goes to Chris Roberts’ upcoming Star Citizen MMO, which has raised $76 million (and counting) since the launch of its fundraising campaign in October of 2012. Still, the question of whether wealthy, investor-backed companies have a place on crowdfunding websites at all is an interesting one that hasn’t been deeply explored. Will the likes of Pebble Time and Spike Lee help smaller enterprises out by raising the visibility of crowdfunding platforms across the board, or will their successes end up sidelining the indie videogame designers by attracting more of our limited disposable income? A whopping 219,382 (mostly) paid $35 each to get their hands on a copy of the card game, which is expected to start shipping out in July of this year.

The new smartwatch is also 20 percent thinner than its predecessor, and it comes with a new microphone that allows for voice-based responses to smartwatch events (if you’re pairing your smartwatch to an Android phone, at least; iOS users are a bit more limited).

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