The 8 Best Crowdfunding Campaigns of All Time

If you’re a startup seeking investment, you’d probably agree that crowdfunding is a pretty scary prospect. The what-ifs are endless…What if you don’t meet your goal? What if everyone hates your idea? What if you spend time making a video for nothing?

Well, rather than tell you how to crowdfund (after, all we’ve already done that), we’re going to show you what can be achieved when you listen to the experts and do crowdfunding the right way.

So, without further ado, here’s our pick of the eight best crowdfunding campaigns of all time.

1. Exploding Kittens

Initial Goal: $10,000

Amount raised: $8,782,571

This quirky card game made Kickstarter history back in 2015 when it became the most-backed project ever, with a staggering 219,382 backers. It’s a charming concept with a great animated video to back it up. Plus, it probably helps that Oatmeal legend Matthew Inman was on board as part of the team, and his signature illustrations really shine through.

In an interview with Polygon, creator Elan Lee points out that Kickstarter’s the perfect place for card games, as it lets you scale appropriately and print the right amount:

The process of over-ordering or under-ordering is what bankrupts companies. If instead you can figure out the right number, and do it in a safe, guaranteed way with the community standing behind you suddenly you have literally Kickstarted a new business.

2. Solar Roadways

Initial goal: $1,000,000

Amount raised: $2,279,428

SOLAR FREAKIN’ ROADWAYS. If you want to hype up your idea, look no further than Solar Roadways for inspiration. Their Indiegogo video paints a picture of a truly futuristic world…And all you’ve got to do to make it real is back their project. As well as smashing their Indiegogo campaign, they’ve received three rounds of funding from the US government – so stay tuned.

3. The COOLEST Cooler

Initial goal: $50,000

Amount raised: $13,285,226

A “portable party disguised as a cooler”, the Coolest Cooler updates the bog-standard cooler for the modern age. Why settle for just a cooler, when you could have blended drinks and a Bluetooth speaker as well? It’s no surprise it was such a runaway success on Kickstarter – at the time, it was the most funded project of all time.

Creator Ryan Grepper had previously set up another Kickstarter campaign, which never reached its goal. So it’s a reminder of that age-old lesson: “if at first, you don’t succeed…” That said, it’s also a lesson in better timing.

Kickstarter rightly points out that Ryan sensibly launched his second campaign “at a time of year when people in the US were most likely to have frozen margaritas on their minds.”

4. The Fidget Cube

Initial goal: $15,000

Amount raised: $6,465,690

Aspiring Kickstarter comedians, take note. This is how you make your crowdfunding campaign funny (and also make everyone want a small vinyl desk toy at $25 a pop!) And you can’t argue with the numbers either: they raised 43104% of their original goal!

5. Pebble

Intial goal: $100,000

Amount raised: $10,266,845

You’ve probably heard of Pebble. You might not realize they launched on Kickstarter. After struggling to secure traditional investment, the founders turned to Kickstarter to launch their groundbreaking smartwatch.

Pebble was one of the first huge successes on Kickstarter. They did a series of campaigns, all of which have maintained high rankings in Kickstarter’s Most Funded projects. In fact, their 2015 Pebble Time campaign still holds the number one spot.

Pebble has since been acquired by Fitbit, but their insanely successful campaigns are still well worth taking a glance at.

6. Baubax Travel Jacket

Initial goal: $20,000

Amount raised: $9,192,055

Quite simply, the inventors of Baubax identified a very relatable problem and came up with a brilliant solution. If you’re sick of struggling with a carry-on at the airport, their travel jacket is the answer. This campaign also shows the importance of a brilliant crowdfunding video; this video is a fantastic demonstration of the features of the jacket.

7. The Micro

Initial goal: $50,000

Amount raised: $3,401,361

3D printers are amazing technology, but not generally one of your normal household appliances. So in 2014, M3D launched their Kickstarter campaign to bring the first affordable consumer 3D printer to market. It’s exciting and futuristic stuff – the perfect project to crowdfund for.

8. The Everyday Messenger

Initial goal: $100,000

Amount raised: $4,869,472

We’ve talked about The Everyday Messenger before. But that’s because their video is a seriously good example of effective crowdfunding. It hits all the marks and gives a really believable promise to deliver. It’s no surprise they did so well!

They’ve since crowdfunded new bags, this time raising $6,565,782. That’s a staggering $6 million more than their goal of $500,000. 

Want to know how to crowdfund your startup? Read our complete checklist of what you’ll need. 

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Becca is the Marketing Executive at Twine. She loves literature, music, film and make-up. She spends a lot of time complaining about the mismatched angles of her winged eyeliner and stalking drag queens on Instagram. Otherwise, she’s helping Joe by writing blog posts and keeping Twine’s social media running.