The History of #1

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On Tuesday, a project called Pebble became the most-funded project in Kickstarter history. This achievement was especially impressive considering the project had launched just six days before.

While Pebble is the latest project to hold the crown, it's not the first. Twelve projects have held the title of Kickstarter's all-time most-funded project. Here they are in chronological order.

New York Makes a Book

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Raised: $3,329
Goal: $3,000
Most funded for: 22 days
Reign: 4/28/2009 — 5/19/2009

This project was the first #1 mostly because it was one of the first projects on Kickstarter, period. It launched the same day the site did with its creators including two Kickstarter co-founders.

Allison Weiss Makes a Full Length Record

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Raised: $7,711
Goal: $2,000
Most funded for: 31 days
Reign: 5/19/2009 — 6/17/2009

Just three weeks into Kickstarter's existence Allison Weiss blew past her goal in two days. Her project instantly became the model for everyone else.

Help Polyvinyl Save 10,000 Records From Destruction

Raised: $15,625
Goal: $1,000
Most funded for: 57 days
Reign: 6/17/2009 — 8/14/2009

A great record label sells a lot of records early on in Kickstarter history.

Release the next Five Times August album

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Raised: $20,546
Goal: $20,000
Most funded for: 35 days
Reign: 8/14/2009 — 9/19/2009

A project of this size is typical now, but $20,000 felt like $1 million in 2009. Plus, it did it in just 31 days when a typical project duration was double that.

The Vanderbilt Republic Foundation: "Masters"

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Raised: $50,264
Goal: $50,000
Most funded for: 27 days
Reign: 9/19/2009 — 10/15/2009

This photography project was the first Kickstarter mentioned by the blog Daring Fireball, whose posts have generated pledges for many of the projects on this list.

Designing Obama

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Raised: $84,613
Goal: $65,000
Most funded for: 235 days
Reign: 10/15/2009 — 5/13/2010

Arguably the first Kickstarter blockbuster, Scott Thomas' art book about the 2008 Obama campaign was especially notable because he served as the campaign's Design Director.

Decentralize the web with Diaspora

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Raised: $200,641
Goal: $10,000
Most funded for: 162 days
Reign: 5/13/2010 — 10/21/2010

Diaspora raised more money in one day than any other project had ever, and became an internet phenomenon in the process.

Save Blue Like Jazz

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Raised: $345,992
Goal: $125,000
Most funded for: 34 days
Reign: 10/21/2010 — 11/25/2010

Blue Like Jazz was launched by two fans after the film's financiers unexpectedly pulled out of the production. Four weeks later the project had tripled its goal, and the film opened nationwide in more than 100 theaters last Friday.

TikTok + LunaTik

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Raised: $942,578
Goal: $15,000
Most funded for: 441 days
Reign: 11/25/2010 — 2/8/2012

The TikTok came out of nowhere to change what everyone thought was possible on Kickstarter, including us. It raised just shy of $1 million on a $15,000 goal, and was the most-funded project on Kickstarter for well over a year.

Elevation Dock

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Raised: $1,464,706
Goal: $75,000
Most funded for: 6 hours
Reign: 2/8/2012 — 2/8/2012

The Elevation Dock was the first Kickstarter project to exceed $1 million in pledges and the first to topple the TikTok. However its reign was extremely short-lived. Only six hours later, the next project in our list topped it.

Double Fine Adventure

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Raised: $3,336,371
Goal: $400,000
Most funded for: 65 days
Reign: 2/8/2012 — 4/17/2012

Double Fine raised its first $1 million in less than a day and went on to raise more than three times that. Its big funding total felt destined for a TikTok-type reign. And then along came the Pebble...

Pebble

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Goal: $100,000
Raised: ?
Most funded for: ?
Reign: 4/17/2012 —

Meet Pebble, the new #1. How long will it hold the top spot? Where will its funding end? With 30 days to go and funding already over $4 million, it's hard to say. Make your guess at the Pebble's final tally in the comments below.

Comments
    1. Marc Holmes on

      it broke kicktraq which says it will trend up to $23,608,673
      Which I dont think is possible I dont think there is that much investing power in kickstarter unless that keeps coming form out side sources.
      I think 6-10mil depeding on the updates
      As to pebbles project they have have had two big updates, waterproofing and hacker version. I see two other simple updates they could do which is more colors and upgraded kit inside. IF they do no more updates then it will coast to 6mill I think they could get another 1-4 mill with updates and then if they did more than that then possibly more but its hard to see what they can pull out of the hat unless they start marketing futher a feild.

    2. Marc Holmes on

      Also could you do more blog posts about data? such as most backers, follow up on the new backer effect, etc

    3. Adam Selby on

      Some of your links are broken. Double Fine has a mis-closed HTML tag and the link to New York Gets a Book.

    4. Daniel Schmidt on

      I think they will raise just shy of $6 million. I am most interested to see if they can handle this many orders, considering their original goal was only like 1,000 watches or something and they are now at almost 50,000 watches or more.

      I also think that how things are handled once this project receives funding is going to be very important for the Kickstarter platform. If there are some major delays in fulfilling orders or if the product is not quite as good as everyone was thinking (or the video made it out to be), it will really damage the ability for future products to succeed so spectacularly.

    5. Arawyn Walays on

      How about a "Mingle" app? this is where two or more Pebble wearers can exchange eBusiness cards and other data by just selecting a Mingle app together. Great for meetings, convention and trade shows.

    6. Edward Williams on

      Kickstarter is going to be a saving grace for a lot of up and coming creative projects. Why bother with a loan and interest rates when something like this is available? Truly remarkable.

    7. Fred Orispaa on

      I wonder when we'll see the first kickstarter scams. As it grows, this will inevitably happen sooner or later. Many backers are expecting it to work like a pre-order, but it's more an honor system without any legal commitment. Pebble for example could just take their millions and retire to the Bahamas saying "sorry it didn't work out, insert excuse here" and there'd basically be nothing anyone can do about it.

    8. Daniel Bestmann on

      Fred- undoubtedly it has already been done... Juicies iPhone canles and the iPad stand that looks like a floor lamp for starters and I believe there was a iPhone case as well that raised a lot and resulted in no end product

    9. DW Nelson on

      If Pebble is about 20% of the way through their project time window, and judging from this chart:
      http://s3.amazonaws.com/ksr/datas/877/tumblr_l8wxz0bZFn1qaqmbs.large.jpg…

      they've raised about a third of their funding, so they should end up at about $13.5M

    10. Missing avatar

      Valerie Sloane on

      It's very cool Pebble has been able to raise so much cash through Kickstarter.
      On the other hand, I find it depressing that people are so excited about a watch when we can't even appropriately fund our public schools...

    11. Collin Ferry on

      Regarding Fred and Daniel's comment - is there some some way Kickstarter could enforce a "soft" legal commitment? It would be nice if projects had to demonstrate "reasonable effort and expenditure" to realize the idea or otherwise be required to refund remaining funds to the backers.

      Yes people could still lose money but Kickstarter is reaching the point where the "off to the Bahamas" result should be avoidable.

    12. Kelsey Lakia on

      @ Collin Ferry... I had this same discussion with my family the other day before I backed the project today. I've been looking at this project for days trying to make up my mind. In the end I put the faith there because of their accountability with their clients, community presence, and previous model. I do agree though. I'm not sure what protection there is for backers. How a company manages their funds is part of the risk of this investment in preorders... Thoughts? I think this project has the potential to be virally funded. My guess is over or around 50 million. If you think about their current growth rate.

    13. Missing avatar

      Peter Cohen on

      I'd like to second Marc's call for more stats and data posts. In fact I'd be interested in an improved selection in the various enquiry pages. I am one of the people who work on the Wikipedia page about Kickstarter. It is reasonably easy to maintain a list of the top ten projects in terms of pledges and those that will join the list in future. However, there is no easy way of identifying the top ten number of backers and the top ten % attained. Also the money is amount pledged rather than money paid (though the latter would be hard to maintain a list of destined top ten projects for).

    14. George Del Barrio on

      It's such a beautiful thing you've built, Yancey... Very glad to know you, and definitely look forward to what the future holds!

      (Good times, no?)

      G.

    15. Adam Clark
      Superbacker
      on

      Marc > I'm not sure what you mean by "it broke kicktraq which says it will trend up to $23,608,673". I've written extensively here (http://blog.kicktraq.com/why-you-should-take-kicktraq-trends-with-a-grain-of-salt/) about why the current trending model is not a projection, and should absolutely not be trusted as a guess about what the final funding level should be until well-into the campaign. Right now it's simply a linear trend, but I'm working hard on an actual projection model.

      I agree with you, it's not likely to meet that, but if you check down into the pledges by day and the backers by day, they had a little dip a couple days ago, but they're right back up to maintaining that average they started with after the first 3 days (http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/597507018/pebble-e-paper-watch-for-iphone-and-android/). If they continue to maintain that level of funding, you may be quite surprised how high they just might go.

    16. Komic-t Concepts on

      I am not surprised one bit. I was in a barbershop in Memphis TN; while reading the Jan 2011 issue of Entrepreneur magazine I came across the "Money for the masses" article where Kickstarter and several other crowdfunding sites where mentioned. I asked the barber for a pen to write down the information and he said just take the magazine. I went to check out all of the sites mentioned but Kickstarter was the best choice for me. Long story short, I began designing my site immediately. And, I beleive that the Pebble will exceed $16 million because as the days go by and the number get bigger there will be more interest. With more interest comes more publicity and more coverage by outside sources and more backers.
      MAN I LOVE THIS SITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      GO PEBBLE!

    17. E. Houde on

      The increase over the past 2 days also coincides with the media hype. They were featured on the BBC's website yesterday and had several write-ups over the course of the day. My guess that will continue as the media continues to pick up the story and then drop down a bit, with probably an increase right in the last week again.

    18. DW Nelson on

      @Valerie governmental funding is on a slightly different scale, unfortunately, and so education falls prey to that fact.
      For example, the U.S. Federal Government spent the entire 'Pebble' current funding amount ($4.75M) in about the time it took me to write this (about 40 seconds - i timed it :)

      Congrats to the Pebble team tho, and to KS for offering the enabling platform!

    19. Bob Waltenspiel on

      What are you going to do with your Pebble? I want a display for my iPhone GPS app that shows everything my bike computer and my GPS device shows.

      There's some discussion started on the Pebble Forum http://pebbleforums.net

      -Bob

    20. Alec Chalmers on

      You forgot wasteland 2, another computer game kickstarter funded project that reached almost 3 million dollars! Ended a few days ago.

    21. Tony Cleaver on

      I just counted about 10 sales/pledges every 60 seconds- so the final tally is going to be huge.

    22. Tony Cleaver on

      Right-on, Pebble- Get down wit cho bad self! (and congratulations to the inspired young team of developers).

    23. Jon "Driven" Singer on

      Should easily top $10 mill. Congrats Pebble and Kickstarter.

      Love this web site and how you are bringing funding freedom to the masses! Having so much fun with it.

      Thank you!

      Jon "Driven" Singer

    24. Roger James Hamilton on

      To go over $10,000,000 from a goal of $100,000 is a pretty awesome multiple... But at $5m+ its already halfway there, so I'm going for $10m. Poor Sony's big news about their SmartWatch this week has been lost under a Pebble...

    25. Alok Choudhary on

      still so many days are remaining. it will more than $20M

    26. Joseph Lee on

      "Poor Sony's big news about their SmartWatch this week has been lost under a Pebble..." Ha! Nice.

    27. Marc Holmes on

      @Adam Clark
      Sorry if you took it in the wrong way I've read you post about the "trending" before, but its not like you removed it so it funny when it say such large numbers (not the first project which it has given silly numbers for) any way keep up the work, love the kicktraq website. Anyway based on past projects the amount pledged daily falls off after each update boosts it up, I dont know about outside effects as they are hard to predict as i dont know what effect they have had on past project. Lets hop that we are both wrong and they make as much head of way to $1billon as they can!

    28. Mark Bakalor on

      Pebble will EASILY cross the $10 million mark. They're still averaging over $500 / minute and at that rate they're on track to reach 150,000 backers, selling 186,000 watches for about $22 million.

    29. Gregory P Hilz on

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    30. Rocky Hurley on

      I agree with Mark Bakalor. I think this will set a record for a VERY long time... or at least until Pebble II comes out... lol

    31. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    32. Robin Laurén on

      "Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. Orbiting this at a distance of roughly ninety-eight million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue-green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea..."

      Oh yes, this ape-descendant wants one. And he doesn't even wear watches other than his cell phone...

    33. Brian Reynolds on

      I just backed the pebble. They wont take the money and run for three reasons 1) they already have the work done and are just tweaking it before full production. 2) They have a HUGE opportunity to distribute the watch through retail outlets and could make much more than they will raise on Kickstarter and 3) It wouldn't be difficult for a class action lawsuit for breach of contract (but hey, I'm no lawyer).

      I think the final amount raised will be around $15-18M. It's already at $5M.

    34. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    35. Mary Kanda on

      Robin- where did you get that fabulous quote? Loved it and want the novel.

    36. Missing avatar

      Janes on

      Pebble seems like a "Public Relations" creation to create a buzz for a new product. I'm going to put my money on PR managing the public's perception with a manufactured idea for getting attention.
      Just the same way publishers buy out their own books to put their book on the top 10 best sellers list.

    37. MattMcF on

      Mary Kanda - pretty sure it's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

    38. Cheryl Orosz on

      If only Douglas Adams were still around to see this particular digital watch.

    39. Missing avatar

      Darryl Okahata on

      Hah, it broke even my (previous) optimistic guess: $4M. Given that it has 28 days to go, I'm going to say $18-20M.

    40. Gordon McMillan on

      Cheryl has an idea there, it definitely needs a DON'T PANIC option for the face ....

    41. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    42. Missing avatar

      Dag Leistad Müller on

      I gotta admit, I find it rather strange to see the overwhelming interest people have in a wristwatch? Personally, I haven't worn a watch since i got my first cell-phone about 20 years ago. What's next, I wonder... iUnderpants with a fiberoptic connection, touch-screen, iphone compatibility and a built in jetpack controlled by flatulence?

    43. Missing avatar

      Scott Hughes on

      Dag. I haven't worn a watch for years but I'm backing this project. It's more than a watch and infinitely flexible in its uses.

    44. Missing avatar

      Jesse Hernandez on

      I'm gonna go with 18.6 million'ish....I also Love this site! Can't wait to get my 1st project going.....

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