7 Creative or Unexpected Crowdfunding Concepts That Seem Obvious In Retrospect

November 12, 2014

4:30 pm

Crowdfunding: many have strong opinions about it. For some entrepreneurs, websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo hold the golden ticket to their making their “Million-Dollar Idea” a reality. Inversely, some critics argue that the new “trend” attracts unorganized dreamers.

In actuality, crowdfunding’s concept is not new, and has existed for centuries in the form of patronage. Whereas projects were once funded by the affluent elite, today’s campaigns rely on an enthusiastic public to support their goals.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue, crowdfunding projects and their products are completely revolutionizing the world we live in. Read on and explore some of the more game-changing ideas.

1.) Honeymoon App: Changing the Way We Do Weddings

This easy-to-use app could revolutionize the way guests honor the bride and groom at weddings. Instead of picking out sheets, dishes, or other household items from a registry, Wanderable’s app would allow wedding attendees to contribute to the couple’s honeymoon expenses instead.

In an era where many committed couples cohabitate and share expenses before marriage, an app that focuses on travel expenses feels refreshingly modern and elegant in its simplicity. Plus, it relieves friends and family of extra time and energy spent on picking out “the perfect gift.” Lovely, and low maintenance, this use of crowdfunding steers the focus away from material goods toward making memories. (And honestly, how often do you really use an egg beater?)

2.) In the Name of Science: Starship Enterprise of the Sea

Thanks to a brilliant crowdfunding campaign, the Sea-Orbiter, a spaceship-like, deep-sea-exploring vessel will become the first live-in oceanic lab. It would drift with ocean currents and rely on renewable energy from the sun, wind, and waves for power.

The project is in the process of crowdfunding with a goal that would see construction beginning in France in the Spring of 2014. So far, the campaign has already exceeded its goal of 325,000 euros. The endeavor is being funded via KissKissBankBank, a site that claims to be Europe’s leading crowdfunding platform focused on innovation and design. If the campaign is a success, the new technology would allow scientists to spend weeks-on-end studying unexplored parts of the world’s oceans. One small step for crowdfunding, one giant step for mankind.

3.) Fund a Movie – Get a Major Release

Rob Thomas and the rest of the team involved in creating the hit TV neo-noir, Veronica Mars, utilized the Kickstarter platform to bring the beloved heroine to the silver screen. The filmmaker’s goal was to raise $2 million for the movie. Fans rose to the occasion (and then some) donating $5.7 million (more than any other film or video has raised via Kickstarter). Thanks to the crowdfunding initiative’s success and audience support, Warner Bros. Studio greenlit the film for an online and theater release.

Many independent filmmakers have used Kickstarter and Indiegogo to make their work a reality. However, the Veronica Mars example sets a precedent for crowdfunding-to-theater-release film production. Time will tell whether or not  Veronica Mars’ success will spark a trend of mainstream, crowdfunded movies.

4.) Working Out at Work – A Desk You Power Via Bike

As of late, the standing desk movement is making a lot of waves. In the pursuit of work-life balance and better health, many employees are switching to less-sentient working conditions. Enter the newest improvement to the “standing desk:” the multi-function power pedal. Two friends (and engineers) located in upstate New York are Kickstarting a campaign that would allow users to channel the energy from spinning of a stationary bike to power gadgets like laptops, cell phones, and even kitchen appliances.

The only downside? Operations that require a lot of heat like brewing coffee or boiling water for tea require too much energy. Nevertheless, this innovative power source would help busy employees multi-task and stay fit!

5.) An Artist-Approved Music Platform

The third most-funded project on Kickstarter and, Pono (digital music service) was developed by Neil Young and his team. It’s aim is to present songs “as they first sound during studio recording sessions.” Using high-resolution sound instead of “inferior” MP3 quality tracks, Pono promises to revolutionize the music experience. Clearly, Young voiced a widespread concern, and music lovers and purists helped make Pono’s vision a reality. If the technology is successful, it could easily rival Apple’s iTunes and open the market in a unique way.

6.) 3D Printing – Creative Design of the Future

Formlab, one of the first productions of 3D printing to use crowdfunding, is geared toward designers in need of affordable, professional-quality 3D printing. On their kickstarter pages, the company’s creators write:

“As researchers at the MIT Media Lab, we were lucky to experience the best and most expensive fabrication equipment in the world. But, we became frustrated by the fact that all the professional-quality 3D printers were ridiculously expensive (read: tens of thousands of dollars) and were so complex to use.”

Pictures on the funding page show side-by-side comparisons between Form 1’s 3D printing abilities and lesser competitors, and the results prove rather remarkable. Given enough clients, the innovative and affordable Form 1 could easily revolutionize the field of design and give access to more creatives.

7.) A Vital-Organ Reading Sensor

Crowdfunding isn’t a platform that’s restricted to enhancing the fields of art and design; it’s also reimagining the healthcare industry. Scanadu Scout is a perfect example. With an initial goal of $100,000, Scanadu’s funding exceeded expectations. The company raised more than $1.6 million dollars (in under 60 days via Indiegogo) to create a device that tracks vital functioning like temperature, EKG, respiratory rate, and even stress. The sensor then sends a detailed report via smartphone. It is set to be released to the project’s backers in 2014 and has the potential to be a literal lifesaver to at-risk patients and caregivers.

Thoughts about crowdfunding?

Have you donated to a campaign? Are you running your own campaign? If so, what was your experience like? Did the project come to fruition? And if not, what are your thoughts about crowdfunding practices? Leave your comments below.


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Hilary Smith is an online journalist and often contributes research to help design eye-catching infographics. She enjoys covering the areas of business communications, VoIP technology, globalization, and online marketing for B2B and B2C companies.