Crowdfunding has exploded on the scene in the past few years, and wearables are one of the hottest commodities.
The concept of crowdfunding has been around for centuries, but it's considered a new industry to many, thanks to the popularity of campaigns on websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. With crowdfunding, a project is funded with small amounts of money, sometimes as little as $1, from a large number of people.
The newest form of crowdfunding, known as equity crowdfunding, will help make the concept mainstream. According to Forbes, equity crowdfunding allows accredited investors to be solicited under the 2012 JOBS Act. The investors receive a portion of profits or anything else that could be considered a financial return. Entrepreneur identifies four other types of crowdfunding: donation, reward, debt, and royalty.
Crowdfunded transactions totaled $1.5 billion in 2011 and grew to more than $5 billion in 2013. The Crowdfunding Industry Report projects that in 2014, transactions could exceed $10 billion. Wearable tech manufacturers have been prominent on crowdfunding websites, since the Pebble smartwatch became the most successful crowdfunded project in history.
In no particular order, here are 10 of the top wearable tech campaigns from Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
The Pebble smartwatch is arguably the most well-known wearable crowdfunded
campaign, raising more than $10 million in 2012. The project raised $100,000 in
the first two hours alone. Pebble began shipping in January 2013, and Pebble Steel, the 2.0 version, began shipping last month.
Pebble's new appstore debuted in early February.
3: Kreyos Meteor
The Amiigo fitness bracelet measures and tracks specific exercises, reps, sets, heart rate, and calories burned. Amiigo wanted to create something that would allow people to track the details of an exercise routine and how it affects the body. It used the campaign to provide funding for production. The company now has all the components for production in hand and is conducting final tests and final assembly.
The GlassUp campaign for augmented reality glasses didn't reach its initial goal, but it's worth mentioning because the product received numerous media reviews at CES 2014 as a sporty alternative to Google Glass. GlassUp displays emails, text messages, directions, heartbeats, translations, and any other info selected by the relevant apps on your smartphone. GlassUp acts as a second screen output for your devices. Information is sent from your smartphone to your GlassUp via a Bluetooth connection. Funding was applied to the industrialization needed to finalize the specs, finding suppliers, defining the production process, and additional patent filings.
8: Smarty Ring
9: Neptune Pine
The Neptune Pine campaign describes the product as an "all-in-one smartwatch" that can be used for voice calls and video chat and features a full keyboard and GPS. A CNET review said the smartwatch still has some hurdles to get over before it can deliver a cool and useable interface. But the success of the campaign makes this one noteworthy.
10: Pivothead SMART
If you allow employees to use wearables, the Tech Pro Research wearable device policy will come in handy. It details several types of devices and their business applications, as well as defining acceptable use for both company-owned and personal devices. Just download the policy and customize it to fit your needs. (Note: The download requires a Tech Pro Research subscription.)
Teena Maddox is a Senior Editor at TechRepublic. She's an award-winning journalist and specializes in business and lifestyle features. She has also worked at People magazine, W magazine and Women's Wear Daily.