In the wee hours of the day after Christmas, Ryan Grepper's first Kickstarter project fell short of its $125,000 goal and quietly sputtered out. It wasn't the most promising debut. But eight months and $13.3 million later, Ryan's revamped Coolest Cooler project is sitting atop the list of the most-funded Kickstarter projects of all time. Here's a bit of context and some fun facts about the Coolest's amazing feat.
The Coolest's 52-day funding period wrapped up last Friday after a big surge at the end. We wanted to compare its progress with that of the #2 and #3 most-funded projects: the Pebble smartwatch and the Ouya game console. Those two had shorter funding periods, so we lined them all up on the same time scale, as if they had competed in an imaginary horse race.
One thing that jumps out here is the slowdown in Pebble's funding three-quarters of the way through. The Pebble's creators chose to cap the number of watches they were offering as rewards, saying they wanted to focus on making a great watch for the backers they already had. Without that cap, would the Pebble have raised enough to move beyond the Coolest's reach? We'll never know. But we do know that they made a great watch!
Ouya's climb is more typical, with a spike in pledges in the last days. But the Coolest's late gains were truly extraordinary. That's probably because of the burst of press attention it received when it topped Pebble's record. (Ryan even made vodkaritas for the folks on the Today Show.)
The Coolest's victory ended a remarkable reign by Pebble, which spent more than two years at #1. At the dawn of Kickstarter in 2009, there was a lot more turnover at the top of the list, but of course the funding amounts were relatively tiny. The Designing Obama book, which was #1 at the end of that year, raised 0.6% of the Coolest's total. In an earlier post we ran through all the #1s in Kickstarter's history. Here's a quick recap:
|Project||Amount||Days on Top|
|New York Makes a Book||$3,329||22|
|Allison Weiss Makes a Full Length Record||$7,711||31|
|Help Polyvinyl Save 10,000 Records From Destruction||$15,625||57|
|Release the next Five Times august album||$20,546||35|
|The Vanderbilt Republic Foundation: "Masters"||$50,264||27|
|Decentralize the Web with Diaspora||$200,641||162|
|Save Blue Like Jazz||$345,992||34|
|TikTok + LunaTik||$942,578||441|
|Double Fine adventure||$3,336,371||65|
|Coolest Cooler: 21st Century Cooler that's actually Cooler||$13,285,226||???|
The shortest reign of all belongs to the Elevation Dock. It was the first project to top $1 million, and it ended TikTok's 441-day run, but after just six hours it was knocked off its perch by Double Fine Adventure. (That was a crazy day.)
Ryan timed his second Coolest campaign a little better than the first, rolling it out at a time of year when people in the US were most likely to have frozen margaritas on their minds. Here we've labeled the 10 states that pledged the most money to the project. California has always been a big Kickstarter state, but Texas really stands out here. One in every 4,629 Texans backed the Coolest Cooler.
The Coolest was not a big hit internationally, possibly due to shipping costs. Just 11% of backers chose the "International Coolest" reward. But the project still managed to pick up 524 backers from Australia, 89 from Brazil, and 66 from the United Arab Emirates -- all places where an icy beverage might come in handy. The Coolest's project video racked up 2.7 million views worldwide, vs. Pebble's 2.1 million.
We always like to check out which other Kickstarter projects appeal to the people who support a blockbuster like the Coolest. Here are the projects that Coolest backers went on to back the most in recent weeks.
There are lots of high-tech projects here, but also three that, like the Coolest, are about staying cool and having fun: Bunch O Balloons, which seriously escalates the water-balloon arms race; Aquabot, a turbocharged spray cap for water bottles; and the Ice Chest, a way to make clear ice spheres.
The list also includes a smash-hit butter knife. Which makes us wonder how many other everyday household items could use a Kickstarter-powered, Coolest-style reinvention. If you've got an innovative idea, we hope you'll share it with the world on Kickstarter!