What the 4 Most-Funded Kickstarter Campaigns Have in Common

Kayla Hammersmith
September 14, 2015

There’s a jacket with 15 features. Yes, you read that right. And no, the zipper doesn’t count as one. The “Swiss army knife of travel jackets” Baubax jacket recently became the most-funded clothing project in the history of crowdfunding. With $9 million raised and almost 45,000 backers, the Baubax travel jacket prompted me to take a closer look at the most-funded Kickstarter campaigns.

The groundbreaking smartwatch Pebble Time and its first iteration, Pebble Watch, take the first and third most-funded campaign spots. In second place is a massively tricked-out cooler, the Coolest Cooler. The Baubax jacket recently jumped into fourth place. An investigation into the top four most-funded Kickstarter campaigns revealed the fact that they are all everyday objects—a watch, a cooler, and a jacket—with as many shiny additional features as possible. Sorry if I’m stating the obvious, but people get excited about projects that have injections of cool tech or tech-compatible capabilities in mundane items.

Simplicity isn’t what captures the hearts (and wallets) of thousands of Kickstarter donators. Clearly, minimalism doesn’t apply to the cream of the crowdfunding crop. Instead, the campaign products with tons of trimmings—like a cooler’s built-in blender or a jacket’s inflatable neck pillow—are the ones that perform the best.

The Baubax Jacket

As I mentioned before, the “world’s best travel jacket” has 15 features. These features include, but are not limited to, a drink pocket, a pen/stylus, pockets for an iPad, an iPhone, and a charger, an inflatable neck pillow, a built-in eye mask, and a blanket pocket. (You can purchase a blanket for an additional $25 charge.)

Designer Hiral Sanghavi created the Baubax jacket with travel in mind. Since he travels from Chicago to San Francisco every week, he and his wife resolved to create a clothing item that could include everything a traveler could possibly want, need, and dream of having. His original campaign goal was $20,000, but the campaign quickly exceeded those expectations. With $9,192,055 raised in total, Sanghavi’s product is clearly filling a need that many travelers (or wannabe travelers) have.

The Pebble Watch & Pebble Time

In 2012, the smartwatch Pebble Watch raised $3.7 million in less than a week. Even though it was in black-and-white and included basic features like smartphone notifications, weather, and a map, the Pebble Watch did incredibly well. By 2014, 1 million Pebble Watches were sold. Of course, the long-awaited wearable Apple Watch wasn’t out yet. Still, the Pebble Watch received a large and loyal following of people who desired a functional, affordable smartwatch.

Then in May 2015, the company announced the second generation Pebble Time, complete with a timeline feature that allows the user to check notifications, a calendar, the news, sports scores, app alerts, and more. In just 17 minutes, Pebble Time met its $500,000 crowdfunding goal. In 49 minutes, it made $1 million. Pebble Time became the fasted-funded and most-funded Kickstarter ever with $20 million from more than 78,000 backers. With a color screen and up to one week of battery life, Pebble Time is the coolest watch since your childhood Mickey Mouse wristwatch.

The Coolest Cooler

On this Kickstarter page, the promotional video begins with a simple question: “why haven’t cooler designs changed over 60 years?” If this isn’t a question that’s occurred to you, I don’t blame you. But apparently the Coolest Cooler’s creator Ryan Grepper decided that this was an issue worth fixing. After all, according to Grepper, “boring coolers are boring.” (Apparently lame coolers, not tautologies, bother him.)

The waterproof Coolest Cooler includes a blender, a Bluetooth speaker, a USB charger, LED lights, built-in storage for plates and cutlery, a bottle opener, and more. It’s more a party kit with a built-in cooler than anything else. Though Grepper set a $50,000 goal, the Coolest Cooler raised over $13 million and had over 62,000 backers.

But Sometimes Less Really Is More

However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible potato salad Kickstarter of 2014. This was a refreshingly simple and tongue-in-cheek Kickstarter campaign started by Zack Brown. Unlike the previous three campaigns, there is no fancy video, no never-ending rundown of all of the world-shattering features that Brown’s product would include.

Instead, there is a single photo of potato salad and a jarringly brief description: “Basically I’m just making potato salad. I haven’t decided what kind yet.” Brown set a $10 goal for his joke—and then he ended up receiving over $55,000 in funds from almost 7,000 backers.

Brown was blown away by how well-received his humorous crowdfunding prank became. Though Kickstarter does not allow campaigns to give funds directly to charity, Brown used the money to put on a concert named PotatoStock 2014. All of the proceeds went to nonprofits which fight hunger.

This Kickstarter campaign demonstrates that sometimes, something as easy as potato salad can break a few records too. However, there’s no way to tell if the campaign would’ve received even more money if Brown made a potato salad with built-in Bluetooth speakers.

Have you ever donated to a Kickstarter campaign? What’s your dream jacket like? Email us at info@perfectsearch.com or tweet us @Perfect_Search!

Kayla Hammersmith
Strategic Content Advisor

Kayla Hammersmith is a huge fan of Nancy Drew computer games and swears that she can do a very specific impression of Pal, the dog from Arthur. You might often find her snacking on goat cheese as she dreams of one day becoming a cellist savant.

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