The other day, Pebble rocked the boat on Kickstarter (again) with the launch of Pebble Time, its next-generation colour display smartwatch, complete with microphone and brand new operating system.
But exciting tech aside, many people are bristling at the use of crowdfunding platforms by established (and funded) businesses.
Pebble made history with the $10 million it raised on Kickstarter for its debut product – something new and exciting and different. Pebble Time shattered records as the money was raised at lightning speed.
Pebble’s CEO and founder Eric Migicovsky claims that re-using Kickstarter is not about the money but rather “a throwback to the original Pebble”, and although the company is, by his own admission, a “profitable company”, it’s still “small” and “battling the largest company in the world”.
So was Pebble Time a legitimate fundraising effort, or an attempt at a PR stunt? We’re leaning towards the latter.
Previous large flies in the ointment have included celebrity-backed projects such as Zach Braff’sWish I Was Here (raised $3.1 million) and the Veronica Mars movie, which held the record for the project with most backers until Exploding Kittens crushed it (a card game “for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats” – there’s not even a shred of doubt that we’ll be playing it in the office non-stop when it comes out).
Companies such as PonoMusic have also caused upset due to financial backing gained prior to using Kickstarter – there is clearly a growing realisation of the platform’s tremendous PR value, but can Kickstarter retain its position as an empowering tool for the people if this continues?