When you think of crowdfunding platforms, Kickstarter is probably one of the first names that come to mind. Kickstarter has been a place where small ideas have the chance to become the next big thing; take the successful Shovel Knight and the OUYA game console. Games, devices, and even TV shows can find a foothold with the help of monetary pledges from regular people. And thanks to Kickstarter, these projects can raise tons of money.
Some of the most successful Kickstarter projects have received millions of dollars in crowdfunding pledges. Plenty of successful products — such as books, smart devices, and tabletop games — made their start on the popular crowdfunding site, and continue to do so today.
Here are the top 5 most successful Kickstarter campaigns of all time, as of Q1 2022.
5. Pebble 2, Time 2, and Pebble Core (2016) — $12,779,843
After revolutionizing wearable tech with its affordable smartwatch (which we'll dive into later), Pebble 2 is an upgrade in every way. The new watch comes with higher fitness tracking, easy readability, and is even water resistant up to 30 meters. The campaign also introduced Time 2, a long-lasting smartwatch with higher graphic fidelity and functionality. Pebble Core is a wearable clip that gives you remote access to your fitness tracking and even Spotify, letting you leave your phone at home.
4. Frosthaven (2020) — $12,969,608
Frosthaven is a follow-up to the award-winning table-top game Gloomhaven. The new game takes place in a "Euro-inspired" snow-covered fantasy world. Players take control of powerful mercenaries as they take on horrible new monsters and invaders to defend Frosthaven from certain destruction in order to survive winter. The original Gloomhaven also began on Kickstarter, where it received $386,104 and surpassed its initial goal of $70,000.
As of 2022, Frosthaven is available for pre-order.
3. Coolest Cooler (2018) — $13,285,226
Creator Ryan Grepper sought to create the next generation of party coolers, one that could do more than just store drinks and be heavy. Aside from keeping beverages cool, Coolest comes with a built-in rechargeable blender, a removable Bluetooth speaker, and a USB charger for your devices. It even has an LED light for night parties, as well as several compartments for storage.
According to a July 2014 project update, Coolest reached its initial funding goal in less than 36 hours.
2. Pebble Time (2015) — $20,338,986
The Pebble 2 may have broken into our list of most highly funded Kickstarter campaigns, but it hasn't come close to Pebble's OG project. The original Pebble Time was touted as an affordable smartwatch with a vibrant "e-paper" design. It connects to your phone to fetch your notifications, tracks your fitness, and keeps a record of your schedule. Pebble's Kickstarter was the most funded Kickstarter for more than seven years.
1. Four Secret Novels by Brandon Sanderson (2022) — $22 million; ongoing
Sci-fi author Brandon Sanderson is looking to self-publish four "secret novels" for release throughout 2023, and his endeavor has recently been crowned the newest most successful project on Kickstarter. Three of the upcoming novels are set in the universe of his Cosmere book series, and one is "something completely different."
As of March 4, 2022, Brandon's campaign has raised upwards of $22 million, going way beyond the initial goal of $1 million. As of writing, the campaign still has 27 days to go until funding closes.