Conventional funding wisdom tells businesses that in order for a new company or product to get started, it needs a strong influx of capital from traditional sources such as financial firms, banks, angel investors, or venture capital firms. But working with Kickstarter, the innovative Pebble watch is turning all those rules on their head and into, well, tiny pebbles on a beach.
The Pebble e-paper watch has generated an unexpectedly large following to help get its innovative product into production. Using wireless, Bluetooth technology, the watch communicates with smartphones such as iPhone and Android devices, as well as with iPod music players. The product’s uses range from the mundane, such as telling time, to more exciting interactive applications for running, cycling, golf, emails, text messaging, and more.
After the founders of Pebble failed to get conventional funding, they turned to Kickstarter to get their message directly to consumers. As of the beginning of May 2012, Pebble has received more than $8.8 million in pledges from 58,000+ backers. Pledges range from a low of $99 (sold out) to a high of $10,000.
Kickstarter is a funding platform for innovative and creative products. Using social media to directly interact with users, the site helps link new ideas with people who are interested in funding and buying the products. Launched in 2009, the company has helped connect 1.8 million people with more than 20,000 innovative products, raising pledges of more than $200 million.
Yes, the Internet does indeed change everything, including how businesses build communities to fund and support their vision. Visit Kickstarter.com to learn more about new products and new ways to generate funding.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Start the discussion by showing the video about Pebble: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/597507018/pebble-e-paper-watch-for-iphone-and-android
- What makes this product unique?
- What are the key messages?
- Who is the target market for this product?
- What challenges does Pebble have with distribution and channel?
- How should the product be promoted?
- Next, move to a discussion about Kickstarter and its funding approach: http://www.kickstarter.com/
- Have students search the site to learn about the variety of products and groups using the site to raise funds.
- What are the products that most interest the students? What other uses can they see for utilizing the site?
Source: New York Time, Forbes, Manufacturing Business Technology, Forbes, and other news services