Kickstarter Tech Projects in Washington: Top 5 in 2014
Space telescopes, high-tech decanters, smartphone photography equipment, augmented-reality glasses, high-visibility bike lights, and games of all kinds. These were some of the top-drawing Kickstarter projects in Washington state over the last three years, and they tell a concise story about what excites the imaginations of the innovators who call this place home.
Xconomy is looking at Kickstarter funding trends across our 10-region network to learn how the growing crowdfunding platform reflects the character of technology innovation clusters around the country.
There have been a total of 5,829 Kickstarter projects launched from Washington state, most of which fall into categories outside of technology. 2013 was a banner year, with more than $1.5 million pledged to Planetary Resources’ “first publicly accessible space telescope“; $1 million-plus raised by Technical Illusions for its castAR augmented-reality glasses; and Robot Turtles, which teaches kids programming fundamentals and was “the most-backed board game in Kickstarter history,” with more than $631,000 pledged—2,525 percent of the funding target.
2014 was a bit more subdued, with no projects breaking the million-dollar mark. We’ve compiled a list of the top-five Washington technology projects (not including games) by funding on Kickstarter in 2014:
1) Moment started with a goal of raising $50,000, and raised $451,868 from 4,722 backers in February. The campaign offered a wide-angle lens and telephoto lens, each designed with multi-element glass optics that fit over the camera eye of a smartphone. The lenses have been engineered to work with iPhones, iPads, and Galaxy smartphones.
More recently, Moment launched a second crowdfunding campaign for an iPhone case for mobile photographers that set out to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter. The company has already raised over $354,000, with more than two weeks remaining in the campaign.
2) PebbleBee sought $20,000 to build a Bluetooth Low Energy sensor system for tracking objects and environmental conditions. The campaign concluded in March having raised more than $218,000 from 3,083 backers.
3) Orfos started with a $20,000 goal to create high-visibility bicycle lights, and raised $157,323 from 8,113 backers in November. Orfos says its Flare bicycle lights provide 360-degree visibility, USB charging, magnetic mounting, and are 100 percent waterproof. Using nine of the most-efficient half-watt LEDs available, Orfos says its rear light red Flare is 300 lumens and its front light white Flare is 500 lumens. (The campaign also yielded the great image of the Seattle waterfront at the top of this post.)
4) Sonic Decanter started with an $85,000 goal, and raised $139,412 from 895 backers in November. The patented technology is intended to bring out aromas, soften the tannins, and improve the overall flavor of a bottle of wine in less than 20 minutes. A mobile app enables users to establish a Bluetooth connection with the Sonic Decanter so they can use their smartphone to operate it.
5) StablCam started with a $35,000 goal, and raised $123,312 from 1,257 backers in June. Commercially available camera stabilizers are not well-suited for smartphones or GoPro cameras, so inventor Eskil Nordhaug set out to create a stabilizer that does not require users to understand counterweight balancing or cumbersome setups. It’s designed specifically to work with the GoPro Hero, Contour, and other action cameras, as well as smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Nokia, LG, and others.
One thing that surprised me as I sifted through the top funding recipients in Washington, regardless of category, was that 2012- and 2013-vintage projects dominated the most-funded leaderboard. The only one in the top 20 from 2014 was the Moment lenses noted above. And a 2015 project—the computer role-playing game “Shadowrun: Hong Kong” from Harebrained Schemes in Kirkland, WA—had already attracted 878 percent of its $100,000 goal earlier this week with six days still to go.
Was 2012-2013 the Golden Age of Kickstarter in Washington? And where were the seven-figure Washington projects in 2014? If you have answers, leave them in the comments.