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The Most Successful Kickstarter Campaigns of All Time

The Most Successful Kickstarter Campaigns of All Time

The year 2019 marked the 10-year anniversary of Kickstarter, the popular crowdfunding site that has helped launch many businesses and jumpstart the careers of artists and inventors. Back in 2009, the economy was in the midst of the Great Recession. Traditional lending institutions were not as eager to fund new ventures as they had been in the past, so would-be entrepreneurs turned to their potential customers for backing.

Kickstarter didn’t create the idea of crowdfunding, but they did make it a household name. In the last decade, Kickstarter contributors have pledged more than $4.2 billion. However, even with those numbers there is no guarantee that crowdfunding campaigns will hit their goals, and if they do, a finished product may never be realized. This makes Kickstarter campaigns a gamble for businesses and investors alike. On the other hand, there are projects that far exceeded expectations to become some of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns to date.

Here are four campaigns that were successful for different reasons:

Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift proposed to change the virtual reality industry with their headsets that offered users hyperrealistic 3D technology. To help develop the groundbreaking technology, Oculus turned to Kickstarter for financial support.

Oculus reached its $250,000 target within four hours of the launch of its Kickstarter campaign, and after a month had gone by, investors on the site had committed more than $2.4 million. Two years later, Facebook invested $2 billion in Oculus, making it one of the most lucrative campaigns to start on Kickstarter.

Pebble Time

In 2012, Smartwatch company Pebble Time launched a Kickstarted campaign that exceeded their initial goal by a whopping 10,167%! With a target of $100,000, they ended up raising $10,266,845, and then raised more than a million more in a second Kickstarter campaign for their second-generation watch in 2015. To date, Pebble Time holds the record for the most funding on Kickstarter.

Also in 2015, the company was offered $740 million from watch company Citizen, but turned it down. They were later acquired by Fitbit for $23 million and their technology was incorporated into Fitbit’s smartwatches. However, by 2018, Pebble watches were discontinued.

Star Citizen

Star Citizen holds the record for the most-funded campaign that has yet to produce an actual completed product to the public.

In 2012, Cloud Imperium Games, the company behind the “epic space adventure” game, launched a Kickstarter campaign that garnered $2.1 million in funding from more than 34,000 investors. Seven years later, there is still no finished game. Cloud Imperium has attempted to pacify impatient investors by releasing small parts of the game, but many, many investors remain highly disappointed. Wired Magazine even gave the company their “Vaporware” award for their inability to produce a product after the considerable hype.

Exploding Kittens

In 2015, Exploding Kittens took to Kickstarter for backing for their game, which has been described as a “highly strategic kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette”. They came in with a modest funding goal of $10,000, but smashed expectations by raising almost $8.8 million from more than 219,000 investors, making them the most-backed campaign in Kickstarter history!

Exploding Kittens’ record-breaking success was credited to their unique way of attracting investors—by engaging potential backers with amusing tasks that earned them additional rewards, and encouraging them to share ideas for improving the game.

Some of the research was taken by Online Casino Betway.


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by Lottie Pritchard // Lottie Pritchard is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.