12 Successful Crowdfunding Examples to Inspire You

Elena Hudgens
By Elena Hudgens 18 Min Read

Looking for crowdfunding examples? We’ve got you. With the skyrocketing usage of crowdfunding and the several success stories that crowdfunded businesses have, there is hardly any doubt that it is indeed a rising industry.

In the past year, crowdfunding websites raised a staggering $5.1 billion. Today’s hottest innovations involve business crowdfunding – which has become an incredible tool for entrepreneurs looking to launch new products or grow, scale businesses.

When Kickstarter started in 2009, it wanted to empower artists and creative projects. It helped people rally friends, family members and fans around their startup company by offering them unforgettable rewards like an opportunity to be one of the first owners of a new product or invention. 

However, businesses found that they needed to raise larger rounds of capital when their project was funded through crowd-sourcing so they could fulfill customer demand resulting from the crowdfunding campaign. Nowadays companies turn towards equity crowdfunding sites like Indiegogo for investors who can help them ramp up production and scale their business as well as find additional funding sources before launching into full-scale operations.

For a quick guide to starting your next fundraising campaign, click here

The essence of crowdfunding is that it allows anyone to find their earliest adopters and materialize a great idea or project. A successful crowdfunding campaign can be what your business needs to reach the next level. 

We’re thrilled about the future of equity-based fundraising as well as how businesses have experienced success through these sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo! To celebrate this exciting point in history for business crowdfunding we’ve created an exhaustive list of crowdfudning examples below that includes some top campaigns from each site. 

12 Successful Crowdfunding Examples to Inspire You 3

Read more : 12 Best Fundraising Sites to Help You Raise Money

1. Oculus

One of the best crowdfunding examples is Oculus. Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus Rift, was 20 years old when he thought up his idea. The campaign started in 2012 on Kickstarter to raise $250K which it reached within 4 hours and raised a total amount of 2.4 Million USD making Oculus one of the most popular crowdfunding campaigns at that time. 

Facebook bought out Oculus VR for 2 billion dollars later on in 2014. Palmer Luckey’s company is now part of Facebook family apps and services that are available today. Based on the forecasted sales of Oculus Rift, worldwide revenue is projected to total $4.95 billion in 2019 which is only from hardware.

2. PopSocket

A professor of philosophy in Colorado, David Barnett created the first version of a simple product that is now one of the most popular products on Amazon – Popsockets! Now, they are available in different colors and designs. It ranks among the best crowdfunding examples.

Popsocket was started by David Barnett who wanted to tie his earbud cord together before he went into class. The idea for PopSocket came from him gluing two buttons to the backside of his phone and wrapping it around. This idea that seemed ugly at first worked, and so did another crowdfunding campaign that took place on Kickstarter in 2012 where 520 people backed PopSockets. 

The campaign made them one success after another since then and has also helped them in being successful today among other similar products such as headphones with built-in Bluetooth technology. The credit goes to crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter taking off over time due to entrepreneurs entering new markets which were once considered impossible before beginning with things that seemed “too good” not having been tried yet (like crowdsourcing).

The revenue of PopSocket LLC in 2018 was over $200 million U.S. dollars, with a profit of over US$90 million; and the company managed to achieve this high annual revenue while still finding success across numerous international markets, including American and European countries.

3. Glowforge 

Glowforge raised $27.9 million in one month. Glowforge is a high-tech, 3D laser printer lets people use everything from leather to plastic to make products – and it offered a big discount during its campaign. In 2018, the company attained another $10 million from other investors, as it ranks among the most successful crowdfunding examples.

When asked how they managed to break several crowdfunding records, the company replied that people were beginning to see that products weren’t just being made with plastic and rubber anymore. They are acknowledging more and more high-tech solutions such as a laser printer which allows different materials like leather or plastic to be used in manufacturing processes. 

4. OpenaCase

OpenaCase exceeded its fundraising goal, raising $283k for a $150k target. Currently, it ranks among the best crowdfunding examples. The company founders Chris Peters and Rob Ward also founded the smartphone case brand Quad Lock with Annex Products to sell their products online. 

As Kickstarter was a new platform, the founders of OpenaCase knew they’d have to drive traffic or customers there in order to get their project funded. They built up a community before launching on the crowdfunding website and then set out Facebook ads, as well as marketed on other social media platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn. 

5. Brooklinen

A Kickstarter campaign in 2013 for a new brand of bedding called Brooklinen raised $236,888 and was funded by 1733 people. This business’s revenue reached as much as $48 million in 2017—no wonder it stands in the list of successful crowdfunding examples.

On visiting Brooklinen’s website, the first thing you see is a statement that says “Really Good Sheet.” This was the initial strategy used to raise capital for the company in 2013, which had an intense viral marketing campaign. The idea behind this was making big and bold claims about how their bed sheets were so good that people wanted to share them with others on social media – even if they didn’t need new ones themselves.

Eventually, these statements led them to open more stores across America. Today, founders Rich and Dave are still speaking about ways they can improve Brooklinen’s products.

6. The Pebble E-Paper Watch 

Unlike the other crowdfunding examples, this one is not entirely a success. The Pebble E-Paper Watch became famous for being Kickstarter’s breakout success and raised $10,266,845 in 37 days. Crowdfunding backers jumped at the chance to get one of these watches before they were on sale anywhere else. 

The downfall started when months passed with no word from the company that production was still stalled and people were left without watches and a lot of questions were raised about whether or not it could deliver all those promises. Pebble delivered its first round of smartwatches 10 weeks later than originally promised (although it had already made more money in that time). 

7. City Lights Books 

City Lights Books has been a fixture of the Bay Area community since 1953, as much a part of the culture and history as it is an essential destination for authors, poets, and readers. This is one of those crowdfunding examples that shows the importance of a loyal audience in raising funds. 

At present though, City Lights Book Store‘s cash reserves have dwindled due to COVID-19. With Elaine Katzenberger in charge at this time (and Lawrence Ferlinghetti eagerly waiting on the sidelines), they’ve turned to crowdfunding site GoFundMe – with their original goal being $300K – which was reached in just two days from eager supporters all around the world who wanted City Lights back up again soon.

8. ExplodingKittens 

ExplodingKittens in one of the best Kickstarter crowdfunding examples. This game is for those who are terrible at charades! This Kickstarter campaign was the most-backed of all time in 2015 and raised more than $8 million. A pledge of $20 or more got funders a copy of the card game, which featured magical enchiladas, and murderous kittens. Exploding Kittens can be played as itself–it’s a marketing tool without any actual gameplay that eventually went on to raise over $8 million. 

Exploding Kittens developed a crowdfunding page and an engaging video to introduce its idea for their first card game. The community responded, enthusiastically spreading the word on social media – they were inspired to create costumes of the card game’s animated characters and post photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Exploding Kittens shared these posts with their followers in order to keep the momentum going from all those who supported them during this process so that supporters could bask in the limelight.

After the success of their first Kickstarter campaign, Los Angeles-based Exploding Kittens raised nearly $9 million in 30 days. That was 2015. They launched three more campaigns on Kickstarter afterward, with the latest one launching in February 2019. The company is now working on their latest game that injects some Dodgeball action into it.

9. Allbirds 

In 2014, Allbirds launched its crowdfunding campaign, quickly becoming one of the most successful crowdfunded businesses in the world. They raised 120K U.S. dollars within 5 days with 970 backers. Their Kickstarter campaign stopped after a month and a half– reportedly due to funding-related reasons but also because they reached their goal already.

The brand is reportedly one of the fastest-growing footwear companies globally, having collaborated with Nordstrom, Outdoor Voices, Shake Shack on more than just shoes themselves- other collaborations include clothing lines too. This is one of those crowdfunding examples that proves that simplicity in the campaign can go a long way. 

Tim Brown started the world’s first sneaker brand that was unbranded. The insight of this simple idea to make a shoe without branding would change his life forever, but at the time he had no idea it would go on to touch hundreds of hearts and potentially raise millions across just two years. 

Brown additionally came up with “a very, very simple sneaker” about ten years ago as an entrepreneur in New Zealand. He started off by creating a campaign for these shoes on Kickstarter which raised $119K USD from 970 people within only two hours. 

After successfully launching and developing this product over 2 years- which raised nearly $50M dollars in 2017 alone- the company has been valued at around one billion dollars after just 2 short years on market (attracting investors such as Adidas). It is the best among other crowdfunding examples on the list.

10. The Coolest Cooler 

The Coolest Cooler is both – successful crowdfunding examples and cautionary tale. The demand far exceeded the company’s capacity to deliver, so they had to raise more funds. The funders of their Kickstarter project were asked if they wanted them to go through with their orders or cancel it after all that support – but not without giving backers who supported in 2013 an opportunity for some sort of compensation.

11. Tile 

Tile is a Bluetooth-connected device that helps you find misplaced items. The toggle, which can be strapped to a keyring or attached to a phone case, connects with the app and sends out notifications on its own. 

Title is one of those crowdfunding examples which acquired the first investment through traditional methods and crowdfunding was used as a means to grow the business. As of the last report from Tile’s Kickstarter page they raised over $2 million USD in total funds; this was achieved within 24 hours of launching their campaign.

It raised $2.6 million for a target of $200k and exceeded its goal in 24 hours. The founders attribute their success to great PR efforts: “For any crowdfunding campaign on any platform, you are responsible for driving your own traffic.” They started PR work 6 weeks before the launch of the campaign – this allowed them to have “the greatest product and video” possible at the time.

Traditional investments helped build Tile’s backbone so that they could launch a successful crowdfunding campaign-one which turned these initial ideas into an awesome product users will love.

12. MVMT Watches

MVMT watches stands among the best crowdfunding examples. From 2013 until 2017, MVMT watches have sold over one and a half million watches. They started their crowdfunding on Indiegogo with their first campaign to raise about $300,000 in total from 3850+ backers. Their initial pitch was rejected twice by Kickstarter but they went on anyway due to the support of those thousands and won it both times.

The founders are LaPlante and his college roommate Jake Kassan (they eventually dropped out). One day Jake and LaPlante decided to discover the style, convenience, and affordability they were looking for in a watch. They couldn’t find it anywhere so they started their own company with this simple problem. 

After 4 years of hard work, funded by more than 3850 backers on Indiegogo, MVMT has grown into something much bigger than their original expectations. MVMT started with a simple problem: having no stylish watches that fit within budget or could be found easily for their friends getting out of school at the time; however, after only four short years they’ve generated well over 100 million USD in revenue. Currently, it ranks among the best crowdfunding examples.

Other Successful Crowdfunding Examples

CampaignCauseFundraising GoalAmount Raised
Angie’s BattleHealth and Medical Expenses$10,000$12,191
The John Anthony West ProjectHealth and Medical Expenses$155,000$118,000
Project EPICNon Profit and Charities$25,000$30,291
Habitat for Humanity Global VillageNon Profit and Charities$20,000,000$14,062,456
Wenonah GivesKids and Families$172,000$143,625
Floor Us!Churches and Religious Organizations$20,000$21,269
A Ray of HopeKids and Families$300,000$257,866
A Handful of KeysSchools and Education$5,000$6,750
Lucy Boettcher & FamilyFunerals and Memorials$5,000$9,400
Help Piper See AgainPets and Animals$2,000$2,291
10 Best crowdfunding examples

Bottom Line

These crowdfunding examples show how startups can boost their business when they are looking for an investment source or if the founders don’t want to give shares at the early stages of formation. Hopefully, you get inspired from these stories to start your crowdfunding campaign. 

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Elena Hudgens is an entrepreneur with 10+ years of experience. She started her journey by building her own e-commerce website on Shopify and turned her $1000 savings to millions in just 2 years. Soon she started different ventures in which she failed and succeeded. And now, she's on a mission to help other entrepreneurs with her life and business lessons.

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