Biggest Kickstarter Project Ever Surpasses $10 Million; Cuts Off Funding

from the impressive dept

We keep hearing that these new business models and platforms really can’t handle “big” projects. While part of the charm and power of these platforms is that they can fund smaller “long tail” projects that might never otherwise see the light of day, there’s no reason that they can’t do bigger projects as well. A few weeks ago, we told you about the Kickstarter campaign for the Pebble e-watch, which was the fastest growing Kickstarter project ever, surpassing $1 million in just 28 hours, and hitting $4.5 million by the time we got our post out.

Last week, the project surpassed $10 million and still had over a week to go. However, the folks behind the project had decided to cap the total number of watches that could be pre-sold via Kickstarter at a mere 85,000. So once that number was hit, they set the Kickstarter to show all the items sold out. While I could see some folks who were waiting towards the end get a little annoyed (thankfully, I got my order in a few days earlier), projects like this should at least open some eyes to the fact that Kickstarter is not just for small stuff. While some have argued that something like Kickstarter could never fund a Martin Scorcese film, remember Kickstarter is just three years old. If Scorcese set up an interesting project with cool tiers, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it funded to massive levels.

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Comments on “Biggest Kickstarter Project Ever Surpasses $10 Million; Cuts Off Funding”

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TechnoMage (profile) says:

Scorsese pshh... Joss Whedon & Firefly


THAT project would get at least 20 million, easily.

Especially if they put things like
1k: first 2~3 new seasons of the show signed by every member of the cast and crew
20k: spoken role on the show.
40k: spoken role on the show where you die an honorable death.
50k: spoken role on the show where you die an non-brown-coat death.
100k: A special thank you message directed towards you personally in the credits that lasts 5 seconds.

Or whatever price points they decides for those & others.

Anonymous Coward says:

Kickstarter has reached the threshold of being able to launch the next George Lucas:

“Produced with a budget of $11 million and released on May 25, 1977…”

You might argue that that was quite a bit more after taking inflation into account — but Lucas had to buy model parts and flights to location shoots in Tunisia and tons and tons of celluloid film; modern digital recording technology and CGI software makes fancy effects, big complicated spacecraft, big sweeping landscapes, and storing the results of all your filming a heck of a lot less expensive than in 1977!

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

I can’t wait to get my Pebble in September. At least I hope I get it…

This is the risk of investing in Kickstarter. If the project falls apart, you lose out, just like any investment in a startup. But if the Pebble takes off and becomes the next Apple II, all I get is the watch I donated towards. I guess some day I could sell the watch as a piece of history (“One of only 85,000!”), but I wish they had an option to buy actual stock in the company.

PaulT (profile) says:

“While some have argued that something like Kickstarter could never fund a Martin Scorcese film”

Thinking about it, this is utterly hilarious. Scorcese is an artist who has made some great pieces of cinema through the studio system, with the inflated budgets that suggests. But, let’s take a look at his entire career and see what he’s done for less than $10 million in the past (figures from Wikipedia).

Boxcar Bertha – $600k production budget
Mean Streets – $500k
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Any More – $2 million
Taxi Driver – $1.3 million
After Hours – $4.5 million
The Last Temptation of Christ – $7 million
No Direction Home – $2 million
Shine A Light – $1 million

Sure, Shutter Island and Hugo might be difficult to come up with via Kickstarter funding – at the moment, anyway. But, are we honestly meant to be concerned that the next Scorcese might “only” be able to raise enough money for the next Taxi Driver or Mean Streets? Hardly a compelling argument, and I’m sure there’s enough people out there willing to fund a decent piece of cinema like that.

My advice is to stop thinking of Kickstarter and other business models as replacement for the current studio/label/whatever system. Think of it as a replacement for the underground indie scenes and Roger Corman’s production mills where Scorcese (among many other big names) made their marks.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:


I guess some day I could sell the watch as a piece of history (“One of only 85,000!”), but I wish they had an option to buy actual stock in the company.

Until very recently that was illegal in the US. However, with the JOBS Act, we’re moving towards allowing crowdfunding with equity. Kickstarter has said they won’t take part, but other platforms will do so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Manufacturing companies should look hard at Kickstarter and pay attention, what Kickstarter is doing is basically pre-selling things, companies could instead of relying on a board for green-lighting anything, hoping somebody buys it, they could just put up a webpage with all their projects and let people buy it, the ones that get funded are the ones that will be manufactured, it takes all the guess work out of the equation, there is no more “what do they want?” questions, put the projects online and let people go ape on what they want to see manufactured.

This is a way to keep inventory low, you only sell what you can produce and have customers for, it takes out a great part of the cost of manufacturing, it reduces the uncertainty and the costs associated with trying to predict what others want.

People who say otherwise probably never manufactured anything, because really this is huge, the costs reduction are enormous.

Is like a lighthouse in the fog.

Kickstarter could become the next Sony with tones of factories lining up to make part of it

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Glad it was finally voiced

“I can’t wait to get my Pebble in September. At least I hope I get it…

This is the risk of investing in Kickstarter. If the project falls apart, you lose out, just like any investment in a startup. But if the Pebble takes off and becomes the next Apple II, all I get is the watch I donated towards. I guess some day I could sell the watch as a piece of history (“One of only 85,000!”), but I wish they had an option to buy actual stock in the company.”

That comment was so beautiful that I had to repost it for any who missed. This is the actual argument AGAINST Kickstarter. It’s not about the risk of losing cash, its the lack of control. It’s the same argument that the web diverts cash directly to the creators. I’m guessing the full argument is: Creators deserve to get paid for their work, but ONLY when others get to latch on to their success.

Yes Kickstarter makes VCs work harder.

One last point that really made me laugh. “…all I get is the watch I donated toward.” So can we assume that when you see a blockbuster movie that you are pissed off that you didn’t get to invest in the making of the movie, since all you get is the experience of watching it?

Tim K (profile) says:


Um, maybe because I’m on a Kayak in the middle of the water and my phone is tucked safely away in a waterproof box, yet I want to still be able to look at the time, or look at the runkeeper stats to see how long/far I’ve gone. Or say I’m riding my bike and have my phone in my backpack or pocket and want to check runkeeper, or play/pause/skip a song. There are lots of reasons where getting my phone out would be inconvenient compared to looking at/using the watch.

Shadeyone says:


True, it’s only a convenience not a necessity, but remember there are only 4 necessities in life: Food, Water, Shelter and Good Luvin. If you can get all 4 at the exact same time, good things happen.

But yeah, I don’t have a need for this either, I’ve got an old phone that still works for me. But my phone doesn’t work for at least 85,000 other people who see this as an improvement on their current situation.

That’s the point and that’s what I think makes an inovator. It doesn’t have to be something that they wanted in their life, but it’s something they saw was wanted in someone elses life that would make a difference. If you want to get something out, it has to work for others, not just you.

Shadeyone says:


Sorry, cut me off

Plus, are you going to tell me you never tried talking into your watch as a kid? This is the first step, it’s got the recieving down, now we just need to be able to make calls from it. Who didn’t watch Dick Tracy and not want something like this? C’mon, don’t deny your inner child

Shoot, already been done. How the heck do I not know about these or have one yet? Man, so out of touch with the important things in life.

Howard (user link) says:


From what I understand, Kickstarter also offers help in coming up with tiered donor incentives. And of course they also bring a certain amount of trust – they’re a trusted third party with a good record of performing their donation escrow service. I have seen numbers that suggest that if you consider every indy comic published via Kickstarter campaigns, it is the #5 comics publisher in the US. They’re doing something right. But then again I am one of those lefty third-wayer artists who thinks Occupy is a good thing.

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