Updated March 3, 2015
Since it was founded in 2009, Kickstarter has acted as a groundswell of support for many innovative endeavors, connecting fans to the creators of the projects they want to see made.
Here are the 10 highest-earning campaigns to date.
1. Pebble Time
Raised: $13,882,946 and counting (2,777 percent of goal)
Funded: March 25, 2015
Talk about customer loyalty. Palo Alto, Calif.-based smartwatch maker Pebble got its start with a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign in 2012 – and now it’s reclaimed the throne again. The company’s latest Pebble Time watch is not only the most funded campaign in the platform’s history, but it’s also the fastest funded, raising $1 million in less than an hour (its initial goal was $500,000). Since its launch three years ago, the company has been at work perfecting its hardware (the most recently announced Pebble Time Steel has not only a new interface, but a Gorilla Glass lens and up to 10 days of battery life) and adding to its expansive (more than 6,500 apps) open platform app store.
2. Coolest Cooler
Raised: $13,285,226 (26,570 percent of goal)
Funded: August 29, 2014
Inventor Ryan Grepper struck crowdfunding gold just months after suffering a Kickstarter flop. Ten years in the making, Grepper’s Coolest Cooler (which, in its first iteration, involved a precarious but resourceful mix of weed whacker and blender) pulled ahead of the pack to become the most funded Kickstarter campaign to date, ousting Pebble Technology from the top spot after two years. Thanks to 62,642 backers, the Portland, Ore.-based company raised $13,285,226. The cooler comes in three colors and includes several features, including a USB port, waterproof speakers, a bottle opener, and storage for food as well as plates and utensils.
3. Pebble Technology
Raised: $10,266,845 (10,266 percent of goal)
Funded: May 18, 2012
With heavy hitters like Apple, Google and Samsung working to perfect their smartwatch technology, perhaps it is not surprising that Pebble remains among the most funded Kickstarter campaigns to date, with $10,266,845 pledged by more than 85,000 backers in May of 2012. The Palo Alto-based company builds stylish, customizable and waterproof smartwatches with a full app store and batteries that can last more than a week. Run by Founder and CEO Eric Migicovsky, Pebble sold 400,000 watches in its first year.
4. Exploding Kittens
Raised: $8,782,571 (87,825 percent of goal)
Funded: February 19, 2015
The Exploding Kittens tag line is “a card game for people who into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats.” Kind of says it all, right? Created by of game designers Elan Lee (Xbox) and Shane Small (Xbox, Marvel) and cartoonist Matthew Inman, the mind behind popular web comic The Oatmeal, the campaign for the distinctive Russian Roulette-style card game became Kickstarter’s most backed campaign ever with 219,382 backers.
Raised: $8,596,474 (904 percent of goal)
Funded: Aug. 9, 2012
OUYA is a videogame console made on the Android platform for users to hook up to their TVs. With an aim to make games more accessible and less expensive as well as inspire innovation, the creators of OUYA, who also built Jawbone’s Jambox, a wireless Bluetooth speaker, made an open-source gaming console and kit that allows developers to build their own games. Run by Founder and CEO Julie Uhrman, and designed by Yves Behar, who worked with the design for One Laptop per Child, the campaign raised $8,596,474 , blowing past its $950,000 goal.
Raised: $6,225,354 (778 percent of goal)
Funded: April 15, 2014
PonoMusic’s MO is pure sound fidelity. In 2012, legendary musician Neil Young started a digital music service that aims to provide fans with the listening experience that their favorite bands and artists intended. The PonoPlayer lets listeners hear clear-as-day studio quality sound, complete with a connected app and digital music store. More than 18,200 backers pledged $6,222,354. The initial goal was $800,000.
7. The Veronica Mars Movie Project
Raised: $5,702,153 (285 percent of goal)
Funded: April 12, 2013
Veronica Mars was a beloved cult TV series that ran from 2004-2007 about a teenage PI investigating the haves and have-nots of her noirish CA town. Diehard fans, known as Marshmallows, loved the show for its sharp writing and indelible performances. After the series was cancelled, they, along with showrunner Rob Thomas and star Kristin Bell long held out hope that that the sassy sleuth could be seen on screen once more. The project’s goal was for $200,000 and it was was met in only 10 hours. Funding reached $5,702,153 by the end of the campaign. The film was released in theaters on March 14, 2014.
8. Reading Rainbow
Raised: $5,408,815 (540 percent of goal)
Funded: July 2, 2014
Actor LeVar Burton, star of Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation, was also known to generations of young readers and their parents as the host of acclaimed PBS series Reading Rainbow. In the 26 years it was on the air, the show found its way into living rooms and classrooms, won a Peabody Award and more than 20 Emmy Awards for “Outstanding Children’s Series.” The Kickstarter campaign to revive Reading Rainbow has raised $5,408,815 through 105,855 backers – the most donors for any campaign ever. Burton has also teamed up with his fellow former Star Trek cast mates as well as the teams from Veronica Mars, OUYA, Pono and Pebble, to provide rewards to its donors.
9. Torment: Tides of Numenera
Raised: $4,188,927 (465 percent of goal)
Funded: April 5, 2013
The Newport Beach, Calif.-based inXile Entertainment adapted Numenera, a fan-favorite tabletop roleplaying game created by Monte Cook, who has worked extensively on Dungeons and Dragons, into a narrative-driven, RPG videogame called Torment: Tides of Numenera. With 74,405 backers, the company surpassed its goal of $900,000 with $4,188,927 pledged.
10. Project Eternity
Raised: $3,986,929 (362 percent of goal)
Funded: Oct. 16, 2012
Obsidian Entertainment’s aim with Project Eternity is to bring back the feel of classic PC RPG games, complete with magic powers, epic quests and detailed world building. In the fall of 2012, thanks to 73,986 supporters, the company surpassed its $1,100,000 goal with $3,986,929.