Pebble Time Shows Us Just How Much Crowdfunding Has Changed

By Maddie Stone on at

Last Friday, the Pebble Time smartwatch ended its month-long crowdfunding campaign with over $20 million (£13.5m) in pledges, making it the most-funded Kickstarter in Kickstarter history by a margin of roughly $7m (£4.7m)

That's not the only Kickstarter record Pebble's second-gen smartwatch recently set. Within 20 minutes of launching, Pebble Time had met its goal of $500,000 (£337k). And as donations continued to pour in, the smartwatch became the fastest project to raise a million dollars — in just under 50 minutes.

Pebble Time's jaw-dropping Kickstarter success is more than just a record: It's symbolic of just how much the crowdfunding landscape has changed in recent years, from a grassroots space filled with small business owners, artists and designers, to a new avenue for popular tech companies or wealthy celebrities to advertise their latest project.

That's not to say that little guys can't still make it big on platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Indeed, the previous Kickstarter record holder, Coolest Cooler, is a posterchild for crowdfunding's DIY roots, hailing from a Portland-based entrepreneur who failed many times to meet a modest goal before raising more than $13 million (£8.7m) from over 62 thousand people.

Still, the question of whether wealthy, investor-backed companies have a place on crowdfunding websites at all is an interesting one that hasn't been deeply explored. Will the likes of Pebble Time and Spike Lee help smaller enterprises out by raising the visibility of crowdfunding platforms across the board, or will their successes end up sidelining the indie video game designers by attracting more of our limited disposable income? Share your thoughts in the comments below.