What we can learn from the world's most successful crowdfunding campaigns

When Amanda Palmer famously raised $1.2 million on Kickstarter, for her 2012 album, it seemed as if a revolution of the arts – and for businesses – was taking place. In her popular TED talk, ‘The Art of Asking’, she opened up many people’s minds to not forcing people to pay for products (in her case, music), but giving them the opportunity to support and back projects that they believe in...

This is where crowdfunding becomes so strong. For businesses that have a product they feel will take the world by storm, they can ask the consumers to reach into their pockets and show their support. People power can completely change the corporate world, and at a time when it’s so hard to find financial backing, everyone can enjoy products or art forms that would otherwise be denied to them.

Here are just some highly successful crowdfunding projects that supported fantastic products:

Flow Hive

Money made through crowdfunding: $12,239,226

The art of beekeeper is very rewarding, especially when you consider that it’s important to support honeybee populations at this present time. However, honey harvesting has plagued beekeepers for hundreds of years – this extremely time-consuming ritual involves suiting up, disturbing hives, smoking them out (to make them docile), lifting heavy trays, brushing off bees and spending a lot of time creating the honey that you spread on your morning toast.

The product ‘Flow Hive’ was invented by an Australian father and son, who wanted to simplify this process. Their innovative system means that all you have to do is turn a tap and you can harvest your honey, when the time is right.

What we’ve learned from this campaign…

When creating your crowdfunded project, it’s often more likely to be successful if you create a solution to a pre-existing problem. Here, it was how to harvest honey without being invasive. It’s important to create a product that answers a need for your online backers. And creating a charming video on how your item works too is a great selling tool.

Pebble Time

Money made through crowdfunding: $20,338,986

Kickstarter’s most successful projects, Pebble Time’s smartwatch is now a genuine competitor for Apple. They completely smashed records, by reaching $2 million in under an hour. One of its best features is that you can use it with either iPhone or Android, which is rare for a smartwatch. 

It’s waterproof, and is turned on all of the time, without depleting the battery drastically. It doesn’t feature a touchscreen – you navigate it with four buttons – and the device includes a microphone. You can see snippets from texts, emails, tweets, and other alerts, but you unfortunately can’t respond through Pebble Time. However, it is simple and easy to use!

What we’ve learned from this campaign…

Futuristic technology tends to do reasonably well on crowdfunding sites. As long as you’re confident that you can deliver on your promises, you might even be able to rival huge companies, such as Apple. 

Oculus Rift

Money made through crowdfunding: $2,437,429

Oculus Rift is now a popular way to step into your video games, and truly immerse yourself in the experience. This technology has certainly gone mainstream, with famous gamers, such as PewDiePie (the most subscribed channel on YouTube), often using Oculus Rift in their playthroughs.

It is particularly suited to the horror genre, as it ups the fear factor, due to you feeling as though you are walking through the story. Virtual reality is on its way, everyone!

What we’ve learned from this campaign…

Getting big names, such as YouTube stars and Gabe Newell, on-board to try your product will add a huge amount of credence to your crowdfunding campaign. It can also act as free publicity for your product, meaning that more people will become aware that you are aiming to raise funds, and will hopefully reach into their pockets to get your business idea onto the market.

Coolest Cooler

Money made through crowdfunding: $13,285,226

A handy gadget for the summer, the Coolest Cooler comes with Bluetooth speakers (so you can play your favourite music), a rechargeable blender (for making cocktails and smoothies), a huge space to keep your goods cool, plates, a knife, a magnetic bottle opener, and a load of useful storage options. It also comes with sturdy wheels, so you can navigate grassy parks and fields with ease. 

What we’ve learned from this campaign…

Using nostalgia to appeal to your audience is a great way to convince people to back you. Here, the founder of Coolest Cooler used memories of American picnics with the family. If you can somehow associate positive feelings and emotions with your product, you can win over your backers with ease.

If you have a product that people want, you too can get it off the ground through crowdfunding. Many of these projects have really been championed by the creators, and created with their customers’ feedback in mind. So could your invention be the next big thing?

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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