The 10 Most Memorable Kickstarter Projects

In celebration of the crowdfunding site’s 10th birthday

The crowdfunding site turns 10 this week; over $4 billion have been raised by backers. (Kickstarter)

Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.

Happy 10 years, Kickstarter.

Since its launch on April 28, 2009, over 160,000 projects have successfully gone through the crowdfunding site, with 16 million backers and over $4.2 billion in total dollars pledged to different projects.  

Below, our favorite and not-so-favorite projects, plus some fun facts from Kickstarter’s first decade.

The first project: Drawing for Dollars
Drawings of a half-dragon man with a pitchfork flying toward a city by “Darkpony” were successfully funded at $35 in 2009.

Pebble Time

Most successful campaign: Pebble Time
The smart watch featured a color e-paper display, microphone and an array of fitness apps and calendar options. The campaign raised a million bucks in under an hour and $20.3 million throughout the campaign duration; it’s actually one of three Pebble projects in Kickstarter’s all-time top 10 funded projects. Sadly, the company eventually went under and the assets were sold to Fitbit.

Strangest successful campaign: The World’s Largest Jockstrap
Artist Michael Barrett needed $850 to submit the world’s largest jockstrap to Guinness for a world record; backers received an 8×10 print or commemorative miniature strap.

Coolest Cooler

Biggest controversy: Coolest Cooler
You’d think the tens of thousands of backers who pledged $13 million in funds for this cooler/blender/party machine would have received their product quickly, or at least before it went on sale to the general public. Turns out the company had to burn through a lot of $ to meet the original demand.

Lowest funding: $0
Over 55,000 projects never received a single dollar in funding. Most of those are film and video projects; it’s also very difficult (on purpose) to look up failed Kickstarter projects, which are de-indexed on search engines.

Most frustrating project: The Skarp Laser Razor
Launched in 2015, the laser-powered razor promised a close shave that was irritation free. They lied: Banned from Kickstarter after raising over $4 million for not having a working prototype, the project moved over to Indiegogo, raised another half million … after which the company began posting irregular updates regarding staffing, patents, their “new swanky digs” in San Jose and why they still don’t have a working demo (as of December 2018).

Biggest brand success story: Oculus
Oculus started as a Kickstarter campaign for the Rift VR headset in 2012; the company was acquired by Facebook for over $2 billion just two years later.


Our favorite Kickstarter campaign of yore: Oru
An origami kayak that folds down into the size of a suitcase. The original design was so revolutionary, it’s on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Kickstarter’s favorite campaign: Cards Against Humanity
The first project highlighted on Kickstarter at 10 page, the “party game for horrible people” was launched with just $15,570 in pledges. To the company’s credit, they’ve used their success to fund worthy causes and hilariously juvenile projects, like buying an island and naming it Hawaii 2.


Current favorite Kickstarter campaign: The Ultimate Travel Shoe 2.0
Last time Tropicfeel crowdfunded on Kickstarter, the Barcelona-based shoe brand racked up $1M in just 20 days. That was for the “Monsoon,” the first of their travel-focused sneaks. Now they’re back with the Canyon, which has already raised a million dollars on a $37K goal … with 40 days left to go.

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