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Since its 2009 founding, nearly 104,000 projects have successfully raised more than $2.3 billion on Kick starter
from friends, family and fans who want to help get those ventures off the ground.
1. Bragi
Founder: Nikolaj Hviid
Product: wireless headphones
Amount raised: $3.4 million
Why it’s successful: Bragi founder Nikolaj Hviid may have created the holy grail of wireless headphones with the
Dash, an unobtrusive computer in your ear that sells for $299.
2. Dwarven Forge
Founder: Stefan Pokorny
Product: modular gaming terrain
Amount raised: $8.2 million in four campaigns
Why it’s successful: As a kid, artist Stefan Pokorny was obsessed with fantasy games like Dungeons and Dragons.
So, in 1996, he founded Dwarven Forge to create miniature hand painted dragon terrain. But it was only with Kick
starter that the business was able to become more than just a labor of love.
3. Elevation Lab
Founder: Casey Hopkins
Product: docks and other accessories for Apple products
Amount raised: $1.6 million in two campaigns
Why it’s successful: Casey Hopkins, who has a background in product design, founded Portland-based Elevation
Lab eight years ago with the idea of making a beautiful iPhone dock. When he went on Kick starter in 2012 to raise
funds for the company’s first Elevation Dock, “things just exploded,” he recalls. “You’re standing at the base of the
mountain looking up at this insane manufacturing project you have, and if you fail it’s going to follow you forever.
4. Exploding Kittens
Founders: Elan Lee, Shane Small and Matthew Inman
Product: quirky card game
Amount raised: $8.8 million
Why it’s successful: Call it a card game or call it a phenomenon. When Elan Lee, a game designer who’d previously
worked on the Xbox, got together with his friends, Shane Small (Xbox and Marvel) and Matthew Inman (the
cartoonist better known as The Oatmeal) to make a card game, it was something of a joke. “This was supposed to
be a very simple fun, weekend activity I could do with my friends,” Lee laughs. Instead, when Exploding
Kittens went to kick starter hoping to raise $10,000, it pulled in $8.8 million, and Lee and his friends realized they’d
promised to get nearly 700,000 decks of cards to a few hundred thousand backers.
5. inXile Entertainment
Founder: Brian Fargo
Product: video games
Amount raised: $8.6 million in three campaigns
Why it’s successful: Founded in 2002 by video-game designer and founder of Interplay Productions Brian
Fargo, inXile specializes in role-playing video games. Over the years, it’s also become a leader in raising funds on
Kick starter to develop those games, including Torment: Tides of Numenera, Wasteland 2 and Bard’s Tale 4. Video
games are expensive to create, and inXile’s first Kick starter “was a hail Mary pass,” Fargo recalls. “I asked for
$900,000, and people said that I was crazy to ask for that much, but I really had no choice because it was going to
cost me at least that much to make.” Thanks to the crowd funding boost, Newport Beach, Calif.-based inXile is now
a 50-person operation with a second office in New Orleans.
6. M3D
Founders: David Jones and Michael Armani
Product: inexpensive 3D printers and ink
Amount raised: $3.4 million
Why it’s successful: College buddies David Jones and Michael Armani began experimenting with 3D printers five
years ago, and raised money for the Micro 3D on Kick starter in 2014 with the goal of becoming the leader in the
sub-$500 3D printer market. Today, the Fulton, Md.-based company makes a tiny and beautifully designed 3D
printer (in fun primary colors), and a variety of durable 3D inks to go along with it. With its product now available
at Staples, Amazon, Brookstone and elsewhere, M3D has sales between $10 million and $15 million.
7. Oculus (acquired by Facebook)
Founder: Palmer Luckey
Product: virtual reality headset
Amount raised: $2.4 million
Why it’s successful: Oculus is one of the legendary success stories of Kick starter. Palmer Luckey, now 23, started
out building the prototype for the Oculus Rift in his parents’ garage in Long Beach, Calif. When Oculus turned to
kick starter in 2012 to develop its product, it quickly blew past its $250,000 fundraising goal. The crowd funding
campaign was just the beginning for the nascent VR Company: In March 2014, while Oculus was still in the
prototype stage, Facebook agreed to acquire it for $2 billion in cash and stock.
8. Peak Design
Founder: Peter Dering
Product: gear and bags
Amount raised: $7.1 million in five campaigns
Why it’s successful: Since its first successful campaign in 2011, Peak Design has used Kick starter to help it launch
more than 20 products; its most recent campaign, for its everyday messenger bag, raised $4.9 million. But San
Francisco-based Peak Design gets more than just cash from its crowd funding campaigns
9. Pebble
Founder: Eric Migicovsky
Product: smart watches
Amount raised: $30.6 million in two campaigns
Why it’s Successful: It’s impossible to talk about successful Kick starter companies without
mentioning Pebble, whose crowd funding campaigns for its smart watches (in 2012 and 2015) are Kick starter’s
number one and three of all time. Propelled by Kick starter, Palo Alto-based Pebble’s first watch was one of the
first mainstream smart watches, getting to market long before the Apple Watch. For its recent launch of Pebble
Time Round, which looks more like a wristwatch than a piece of wearable technology, Pebble – which
subsequently raised $26 million from outside investors – skipped Kick starter and simply offered the product for
pre-order on its website and through retailers like Target and Amazon.
10. Wobble Works
Founders: Max Bogue, Peter Dilworth and Daniel Cowen
What it does: 3D printing pens
Amount raised: $3.9 million in two campaigns
Why it’s successful: Max Bogue and Peter Dilworth founded Wobble Works in 2010 as a small toy company that
mainly licensed its concepts to larger firms. But the Hong Kong-based firm really hit its stride with the 3Doodler, a
3D printing pen, launched on Kick starter in 2013. Since then, the company has shipped more than 135,000 of the
first version of the pen, and more than 260,000 of the second (priced at $99), and it recently released a 3Doodler
pen for kids that’s made of child-safe plastic