7 Incredibly Successful Crowdfunding Campaigns

Amazing ideas on the way to becoming reality

Sep 10, 2013

Screenshot: Kickstarter campaign clip

The words "Kickstarter," "Indiegogo" and "crowdfunding" come up pretty often these days, but do these platforms really turn amazing ideas into reality? The simple answer is yes. Every day, projects across the spectrum of science, arts, environment, music and education not only meet their goals, but exceed them far. What follows is a list of such projects – now in various stages of development – which can serve as inspiration for those of us with great ideas who just need a little bit of help to realize them.

1. BRINGING ART TO LIFE –

THE MARINA ABRAMOVIC INSTITUTE

Spurred on by her award-winning work – including this moving performance art installation at New York's MoMA – celebrated artist Marina Abramovic raised $661,452 this year to build her dream project. Abramovic aims to put art, science, technology and spirituality together in the "Marina Abramovic Institute," a dynamic museum which displays what she calls "long durational work." All visitors will become active participants in the art, in line with her call for supporters to take part in the inception of the project itself via Kickstarter.

Screenshot: Kickstarter campaign clip

2. SWIMMING IN NEW YORK - 

+POOL

This cool New York project – featured on Goodnet earlier this year – raised $273,114 through Kickstarter to build a filtered, floating swimming pool in the middle of the river. The +POOL project began with the goal of cleaning the entire river, starting with one small piece at a time. After that it expanded - developing technology designed to filter the very water it floats on – and at the same time allowing New Yorkers to swim in clean river water for the first time in 100 years. The team is now hard at work developing the full water cleansing assembly and finding the best structural, mechanical, electrical and filtration systems.

3. ROLLING OUT HEALTH - 

NOURISHMAT

Anyone who dreams of starting a garden but can't quite seem to find the equipment or energy (or both!) will love this product – a 1.2m x 1.8m roll-out garden mat with pre-cut holes and built-in irrigation. The Nourishmat kit includes 19 plant varieties, including basic vegetables like carrots and spinach, and useful herbs like parsley, dill and mint. The recently-funded project raised $107,534 – far exceeding its initial goals – and is now gearing up for production, getting ready to empowering people to start growing their own food and flowers.

Photo: Nourishmat

4. ROCKING SOCIAL MEDIA – AMANDA PALMER

After ditching her record label, taking the Internet by storm and giving this incredibly inspiring TED talk, Amanda Palmer and her band The Grand Theft Orchestra are putting out a new album – completely funded by Kickstarter. The social media darling managed to raise a whopping $1,192,793 in the one-month campaign, and is planning an art book to go with the new album.

Screenshot: Kickstarter campaign clip

5. GROWING FEMALE ENGINEERS – 

GOLDIEBLOX

The brainchild of engineer Debbie Sterling, this Kickstarter-funded dream which is now a reality aims to pique the interest of young girls with a construction toy and book series. The series features a young girl named Goldie - a jack of all trades who loves to build things. After raising $285,881 at the end of 2012, the GoldieBlox educational products are now available in Toys R Us.

Photo: GoldieBlox

6. BLOCKING MOSQUITOES - 

KITE

This innovative and nontoxic patch – another Goodnet favorite - keeps mosquitoes at bay for up to 48 hours, by affixing to clothing and deterring insects that track humans by smelling for carbon dioxide. The idea was the brainchild of a University of California team, and the initiative was jumpstarted by generous support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and National Institutes of Health. Since exceeding their Indiegogo funding goal seven times over, Kite - in partnership with Pilgrim Africa – is now working to distribute the magical patch to Uganda, which is heavily affected by mosquito-borne illnesses.

7. REDIFINING NATURAL LIGHTING – 

GLOWING PLANTS

This bright idea was put together by a team of super-smart scientists from Israel and the US, and is now in production after raising $484,013 – significantly more than the $65,000 they set out to raise. To simplify a pretty complicated matter, the scientists used synthetic biology and Genome Compiler's software to make plants that literally glow. The little trees – which were inspired by the science that lights up fireflies and the magical fantasy world depicted in the movie Avatar – should be ready for sale in 2014.

Screenshot: Kickstarter campaign clip

As well as managing Goodnet.org, Elana writes happy headlines with a particular focus on yoga, meditation and family matters. She has a background in online journalism and web content.

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