10 Kickstarter Projects Every Geek Should Support

11/9/12Follow @wroush

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Sparse Bicycle Lights

Fundraising progress as of Nov. 8, 2012: $2,864 pledged of $45,000 goal

Days to go: 29

I love these battery-powered LED bicycle lights not just because they look cool, but because they’re impossible to steal without taking apart the bike itself. They’re from a small San Francisco design firm devoted to products for urban bikers.

Final status: Funding successful, $66,386 raised.


Square Frame

Fundraising progress as of Nov. 8, 2012: $1,121 pledged of $5,000 goal

Days to go: 5

Why should all your Instagram photos be stuck inside your smartphone? This frame is designed specifically to hold square, 4×4-inch prints, and the construction couldn’t be simpler: it’s made from a single chunk of aluminum with a wood insert.

Final status: Funding unsuccessful, $1,242 pledged.


Sunseeker Duo

Fundraising progress as of Nov. 8, 2012: $15,804 pledged of $70,000

Days to go: 2

Who wouldn’t want to fly in a two-seat, solar powered airplane (technically a “motor glider”)? A larger version of an earlier one-seat solar glider, the Sunseeker Duo has a 23-meter wing that’s nearly covered with photovoltaic panels. The project is led by Ramona, CA-based photographer/pilot Eric Raymond.

Final status: Funding unsuccessful, $25,927 pledged.


The Vela Music Project

Fundraising progress as of Nov. 8, 2012: $1,328 pledged of $50,000 goal

Days to go: 47

Think Siri meets Spotify. Vela is a voice-activated app that helps music fans find and manage music on their iOS devices. Actually, Siri can already find and play tunes in your iTunes library, but Vela’s Kickstarter page says its app also works with Spotify, Rhapsody, and Rdio.

Final status: Project canceled.


Who Killed (Or Saved!) the Music Industry?

Fundraising progress as of Nov. 8, 2012: $17,272 pledged of $30,000 goal

Days to go: 4

This is a documentary film on the digital revolution and how it has changed the way music is produced and sold, with an emphasis on the how musicians themselves have been affected. It’s from Ryan Phillips and Adam Russell, members of the rock band Story of the Year.

Final status: Funding successful, $33,381 raised.


BONUS PROJECT

From Holden—Perfect Men’s Shirts at Perfect Prices

Fundraising progress as of Nov. 9, 2012: $17,852 pledged of $5,000 goal

Days to go: 28

I haven’t invested yet in this new Kickstarter campaign, but I wanted to add it to the roundup because it’s the brainchild of former Boston hometown boy William Sulinski. I wrote about William back in 2010 when he and his partners were building a TechStars-backed startup called AccelGolf; he went on to help build Shareaholic, another leading Boston-area startup. His new company From Holden plans to offer tailored hoodies, polo shirts, T-shirt, and v-necks online at reasonable prices.

Final status: Funding successful, $51,712 raised. From Holden later changed its name to Pistol Lake.


BONUS PROJECT

Spark—Upgrade Your Lights with Wi-Fi and Apps

Fundraising progress as of Nov. 16, 2012: $27,978 pledged of $250,000 goal

Days to go: 26

Spark is a Minneapolis-based startup participating in the HAXLR8R accelerator program for hardware startups. Their Wi-Fi-enabled device sits between a lightbulb and a light socket and lets you control your lights from a computer, smartphone, or tablet. The company plans to encourage third-party developers to write apps that connect to the gadget. “We think the API will allow for a ton of great uses beyond just remote control; a few “Spark apps” we’re building are using your bedroom lights as a sunrise alarm clock, notifications via flashing lights, and geofencing (lights turn off when you’re away from home),” says co-founder Zach Supalla.

Final status: Funding unsuccessful, $125,588 pledged. But Spark Devices later successfully raised $567,968 for Spark Core.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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  • Jason Love

    This is a really smart idea for a blog post. If it is okay I might use the same format. Not only does your backing help them, they get extra exposure from this post. I will be taking a closer look at the space animation and the book with the interviews from successful Kickstarter project creators.
    Cool post
    Jason Love, blogging at
    http://www.jasonloveslife.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.agresti.1 Karen Agresti

    Big hugs & thank you from Mothership HackerMoms. We’d be happy to chat with you anytime. Email us at info@hackermoms.org

  • http://www.dailygrommet.com Jules Pieri

    Wade, Like Jason I am pretty inspired by this post of yours. I’ve been quietly funding Kickstarter projects with no particular rhyme or reason. (You would have loved the film project Detropia, by the way–about Detroit.) And at Daily Grommet we pick up where Kickstarter leaves off so we are finding future Grommets on these platforms and investing heavily in their success by making them Grommets. (I just shot my first video about one this week.) But we’ve been talking about starting a fund like yours to help accelerate some of the projects there (not just product oriented ones). I am so going to steal your stuff here and do this. I was torn about the idea of the small dollars we could infuse but your post made me remember that our sheer act of sharing these initiatives will be just as helpful. Our community, like your readers, will love the curation aspect and the campaigns will get the boost they deserve. Thanks for doing this. And….you figured out Pinterest!!!

    • http://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco Wade Roush

      Jules, I’m so glad you found some inspiration in this post. I think the match between crowdfunding and citizen commerce could be really powerful. I would love to hear how things develop with your Daily Grommet Kickstarter fund. And yes, I figured out Pinterest! I’ve been sold on it ever since discovering my new Warby Parker glasses there.

  • http://twitter.com/theyesmen The Yes Men
  • http://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco Wade Roush

    Jason Love: Of course, feel free to use this format for your own blog post. There are a lot of Kickstarter projects that deserve more attention.