Many startups share the same story. It starts with the desire to change the world, it may include working out of mom’s basement, and after many trials, tribulations, and Ramen dinners, the startup may eventually be lucky enough to get funding.
Revolutionizing this funding process has been Kickstarter, a website designed to get projects ranging from movies, to personal satellites, to toys seen by investors, other businesses, and regular Joes. The site has become a champion for the small and obscure, helping to shine light on projects that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
This week at CES, small Kickstarter projects are colliding with the titans of tech, marking a dynamic shift in what people consider to be a major player at this mega conference.
One project that stands out in particular is Atoms, building blocks that allow kids and adults to “make something that does something.” It works like this: by piecing together the component parts, which include things like accelerometers and motors, you can bring to life standard toys and control them. The three kits ranging from $29 to $79 have different types of functionality like the ability to make things move and control parts via the iPhone and gesture control. There’s even an exploding brick option so kids can literally explode their building block castles for extra fun. As of one week ago, Atoms exceeded its $100,000 Kickstarter goal with a grand total of $183,232 in funding.
Another Kickstarter winner at CES 2013 is Dot, the snap-on iPhone lens attachment and app lets amateur filmmakers create 360-degree panoramic video directly from their smartphone. The special optic lens aligns with the lens of the iPhone and lets viewers navigate through the 360-degree video either on the phone itself, or on the Web. The gadget has received a lot of attention over the past months, helping the Kogeto company exceed its $20,000 goal by a whopping $100,514. Kogeto made its first appearance at CES last year in 2012, returning for a second time this year.
Probably the most anticipated Kickstarter project at CES 2013 is the Pebble E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android. The watch, which connects to your Android or iPhone via Bluetooth, allows user to control smartphone apps directly from the watch. For example, runners can track how fast, far, and where they’ve run directly from the watch, along with receive call and text alerts while on the road. The idea is one of the most highly funded Kickstarter projects, receiving $10 million rather than its original request for $10,000. At CES this year, the 68,000 Kickstarter backers are hoping that tomorrow’s press conference will include a product launch and timeline to market, making Dick Tracy supremely jealous.