Kickstarter

The Pebble broke Kickstarter records. The Instacube is positioning itself to raise lots of money.

What do these two projects have in common with our goals?

A lot.

Am I worried someone will steal Paleoflow’s idea before we launch?

Maybe a little.

But for the most part, these Kickstarter projects are cause for more excitement than anxiety about the future prospects for Paleoflow. If anything, these two projects demonstrate that there is demand for consumer electronics not created by the behemoth companies.

And I should clarify what I mean by “demand.” Yes, the Pebble raised over $10 million, but they raised it from 68K pledgers who all expect devices in return. That’s a strong number of customers, but it pales in comparison to the number of phones, tablets, and eReaders that are shipped in the millions. Maybe in the watch space it is a considerable number. But I’m sure Pebble creators are piecing together their marketing strategy to search for the next 68K, 100K, millions.

Similarly, Instacube pledgers have contributed over $100K on day two, but that is only spread among 1,200 backers. I don’t think 1,200 or even 68,000 in the case of the Pebble is a strong indicator for long-term success. Still, it is a good start. Both the Pebble and Instacube have much more to say regarding customer traction and market demand today than they did before launching through Kickstarter.

I have learned a lot following Kickstarter over the last year. The projects that seem to do very well are not pitched as projects. They are pitched as full-fledged, usable products. After watching the Pebble and Instacube videos a couple of times, it’s easy to see that their products are actually projects, since they don’t demonstrate every feature they claim will ship.

What will be interesting is to see what Kickstarter looks like five years from now. Will it be the method of choice for early-stage hardware startups to demonstrate traction and give a boost to their business? Will software startups get involved? Once the SEC writes the crowdfunding rule, there may be a more appealing alternative. For now, however, Kickstarter is the runaway leader.

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