Kickstarter smartphone-watch project tops $7 million in weeks

Pebble watch connects with iPhone and Android to deliver email, text messages and calendar alerts, among other things. Pebble Technology

Pebble watch connects with iPhone and Android to deliver email, text messages and calendar alerts, among other things.
Pebble Technology
(CBS News) Imagine raising $7 million in a matter of weeks from nearly 50,000 strangers. That's the power of a growing trend in crowd funding, which is demonstrated by the most successful Kickstarter campaign yet.

Pebble is a watch that syncs with iPhone and Android smartphones to deliver email, text messages and calendar alerts, among other things. Dubbed the "smartwatch," Pebble's journey to becoming the most funded Kickstarter project to date is not exactly a Cinderella story, but impressive nonetheless.

Eric Migicovsky leads the development team behind Pebble. The developers already have a similar product called inPulse for Android and BlackBerry smartphones. This month, Migicovsky and his team shattered the dogma of traditional funding by venture capitalist firms by tapping into the Kickstarter community.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Migicovsky had to overcome two hurdles before Pebble could become a reality: lack of funding and challenges with Apple's operating system that did not allow interaction with watches. Apple updated their software last summer to allow communication with watches, so that left the issue of funding.

Migicovsky was advised by startup incubator Y Combinator's co-founder, Paul Graham, to post his project on Kickstarter. Within two hours of posting the project, the team hit their $100,000 goal, the New York Times reports.

Kickstarter works by letting anyone propose a project on the site, setting a monetary goal. If the goal is met, the project gets funded. Everything from independent films to garden projects has been funding from Kickstarter campaigns.

Pebble isn't the only Kickstarter project that has gained an overwhelming level of support. Projects like Elevation Dock and Brydge keyboard both garnered attention for their innovative design concepts.

Developers for the video game "Shadowrun" turned to Kickstarter to fund the next iteration of the game, "Shadowrun Returns." The game studio that published "Shadowrun," FASA Studios, was shut down by Microsoft in 2007. The game's original creators, Harebrained Schemes, obtained the license from Microsoft and took to Kickstarter to raise funds for development. Over 36,000 backers shelled out $1.8 million to see the next release of the game.

Kickstarter isn't the only company in the space, but the success of Pebble only demonstrates how crowd funding can make a significant of an impact on startups and companies in need of a lifeline.

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