It’s hard to point to any one reason, but it sure seems like the shine has come off the crowdfunding craze. Last year saw plenty of reports of a Kickstarter decline (that could persist), along with an increase in strict requirements put in place by crowdfunding sites to ensure that crowdfunded companies actually deliver on their promises. While a few niches like tabletop gaming are finding success, it seems like the days of successful crowdfunding campaigns launching massive companies or popular video games might be numbered. And, as it turns out, a lot of lessons can be learned from some of the biggest Kickstarter projects of all time — projects that secured tons of funding, even if the ending wasn’t always a happy one. These aren’t necessarily the biggest, but they all took in well over $1 million in funding.
For a while there, Pebble was the Kickstarter success story. In April 2012, Pebble sought $100,000 to make an E-paper smartwatch for both iOS and Android phones. That original campaign ended up bringing in over $10 million, launching one of the first modern smartwatches and establishing Pebble as a major player in what was then a brand new wearable technology industry. They had a couple other successful campaigns over the years (including the most successful single Kickstarter campaign ever at over $20 million), but the success wasn’t to last. They ended up selling off some of their technology and IP to Fitbit in late 2016, having failed to deliver many of the products funded by their final Kickstarter campaign.