Pebble Time Kickstarter project raised $20.3 million

30 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Pebble Time Shows Us Just How Much Crowdfunding Has Changed.

Pebble won record support from the Kickstarter crowdfunding community in its second trip to the well, for its next-generation Pebble Time smartwatch, CNN Money reports. Smartwatch manufacturer Pebble has finished its second run on crowdfunding website Kickstarter, raising $20.3m in pre-orders for its new Pebble Time watch.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. That makes it the most funded project ever on Kickstarter, beating the previous record – $13.3m for the Coolest beer cooler – and nearly doubling the $10.3m that the company raised in 2012 for its original Pebble smartwatch.

The company likely could’ve gone with a more traditional product launch, with a brief pre-order window or direct to market availability, but the campaign did break Kickstarter’s all-time records, netting over $20 million ($20,338,986 to be exact) from 78,741 backers, which is newsworthy over and above the actual product it’s selling. When it ships in May, the device will go up against the Apple Watch but offer a week between battery charges (rather than a day) and a lower price of $199. The new smartwatch has a colour e-paper display, a new “timeline” interface and the promise of up to seven days battery life, in contrast to the 1-2 days offered by most of its rivals.

In the end, though Pebble Time will have to stand on its own two feet post-campaign as a product, and thanks to Pebble’s use of Kickstarter, we have a unique opportunity to pin down exactly how the launch campaign fared in terms of hard pre-order numbers. 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.

Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff isn’t the only Silicon Valley CEO to protest “religious freedom” laws that are giving cover to anti-gay discrimination in the U.S.: Apple’s Tim Cook added his voice via an opinion piece in Sunday’s Washington Post about legislation that’s been introduced in close to half of American states. During the campaign, Pebble made some additional feature announcements, including “smartstraps” – watch straps containing sensors and electronics to work with apps running on the Pebble Time – and a $1m fund to encourage developers to support them.

As mentioned, 78,741 backers supported the project, but that doesn’t translate to pre-order totals directly, thanks to the variation in reward tiers. The Alabama-born chief executive cited both his Baptist upbringing and last century’s civil rights movement in calling on people to have the courage to fight discrimination. The last time Intel made a really big acquisition was when it paid $7.5 billion for McAfee in 2010, but now it’s apparently considering spending big to buy chipmaker Altera, which has a current market cap of $10 billion, the New York Times reports. By comparison, the original Pebble campaign resulted in 85,419 pre-orders (not counting prototype hardware for a special developer tier, which adds 100 more to the total) across all reward tiers.

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. Altera makes field-programmable gate arrays; a post from EE Journal last June speculates what Intel could do with FPGAs in the data center—and why it might acquire Altera. Google’s Android Wear software is now running on a growing range of smartwatches, including Sony’s Smartwatch 3, LG’s G Watch R, Motorola’s Moto 360, Samsung’s Gear 2 and Asus’ ZenWatch. 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.

She said on Fox News Sunday that chances are “very high” she’ll run for U.S. president, but she’s not announcing her plans until late April or early May. Apple is preparing to release its Apple Watch in April, while Microsoft’s smartwatch-cum-fitness tracker, the Microsoft Band, went on sale in the UK in April. 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. An Internet gateway device popular with hotels is vulnerable to hackers, security researchers say, and allows them to launch attacks against guests accessing their Wi-Fi networks.

Pebble’s chief executive Eric Migicovsky was bullish about the competition during a recent Ask Me Anything (AMA) interview on Reddit. “I personally love the fact that PT fits into my life and doesn’t force me to conform around Apple or Google’s systems,” he said. “It works with both platforms, lasts for up to a week, is durable/waterproof. 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.

Multiple models of InnGate equipment, manufactured by ANTlabs, could give attackers full read and write access to the device file system, according to researchers from security firm Cylance. It is apparent, however, that Apple’s device launch is still the one to watch for those looking for a clearer sign that consumer appetite for wearable tech has significantly increased over the past few years. Late on Sunday GitHub was recovering from a massive DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack that started on Thursday, and was the largest such attack in its history. Kleiner Perkins successfully defended itself in a gender discrimination lawsuit, but will dirty laundry that was aired lead to changes in the corporate culture of Silicon Valley?

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