Kevin Savetz, owner of Savetz Publishing and creator of online services including FaxZero, has backed 22 projects on Kickstarter, from an iPhone camera lens to computer history books; he found out about these projects primarily through social media. "I love the ability to help people create things that are interesting to me, but so niche-y that they might not have been able to be created without something like Kickstarter," he says. Savetz adds that the rewards offered on Kickstarter aren't as important as seeing the artist's vision realized. "On rare occasions, if the project is created by someone I already know and admire, I'll throw big bucks at it to help the project succeed," he says.
Highs and lows
The Kickstarter model has helped make many projects a success -- and it has produced a few blockbusters. In April, Kickstarter hit a new milestone with its most funded project ever: Pebble, a customizable Bluetooth wristwatch with an e-paper display and its own app store. Within just six days of launching, the Pebble project raised $5 million more than the requested funding of $100,000. Pledges of at least $99 earn their own Pebble when it ships in September, with nine people thus far having pledged at the $10,000 tier in return for a hundred Pebbles.
Not every project enjoys such outrageous success -- and some have fallen by the wayside. Charles Mangin developed a prototype of his PressurePen, a pressure-sensitive stylus for iOS and Android tablets. He began seeking traditional funding six months ago and received early interest from a potential traditional investor, but the development cycles didn't match up. "[The investor] was expecting the prototype to be more retail-ready," says Mangin, "something he could just take to his manufacturing partners as-is and say, 'Make ten thousand of these.'"