When trends collide: 10 of the hottest crowdfunded wearables

Crowdfunding is giving entrepreneurs and small companies new opportunities to innovate and succeed -- and wearable devices are reaping the benefits.

Image: Josh Miller/CNET
 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.

1: Pebble

Raised: $10,266,845
Goal: $100,000

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.

2: Agent

Raised: $1,012,742
Goal: $100,000

 Agent, which bills itself as "the world's smartest watch," is a smartwatch that has longer battery life and Qi wireless charging. It does the usual smartwatch tasks, using Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone, displaying incoming calls and notifications, allowing control of your music library, and providing a wrist-based display for smartphone apps.

 3: Kreyos Meteor

Raised: $1,502,310
Goal: $100,000

Image: Indiegogo
 The Kreyos Meteor smartwatch is a hands-free, two-way communication system that can be worn on a wrist or belt or attached to a bike. Kreyos came to Indiegogo seeking help to finalize its software development and go into mass production. Most of the funding requested was applied to final software coding, testing, and UI design.

4: Amiigo

Raised: $580,710
Goal: $90,000

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.  


Raised: $101,144
Goal: $100,000

Image: Kickstarter
Although the campaign for the MEMI smartbracelet reached only slightly more than its $100,000 goal, it's notable because it's one of the few pieces of wearable tech that targets women and is actually stylish enough to be worn as a piece of jewelry. Most smartjewelry, from bracelets to necklaces to rings, claims to be chic but isn't. MEMI looks like a piece of attractive fashion jewelry. Sometimes it's impossible for women to carry a phone or hear a ringer when buried in a purse, so the MEMI uses Bluetooth to notify the user of incoming calls, text messages, and calendar reminders. 

6: GlassUp

Raised: $127,738
Goal: $150,000

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.  

7: Atlas

Raised: $318,043
Goal: $125,000

Image: Indiegogo
The Atlas fitness tracker is a wearable device that tracks and identifies different activities, evaluates your form, counts your reps and sets, and calculates the calories burned. With a single on-wrist device, Atlas can track your body on the x-, y- and z-axes. It is precise and can tell the difference between pushups and triangle pushups, bicep curls and alternating bicep curls, and squats and dead lifts. Atlas logs your workout with almost zero user action and keeps track of your heart rate so you can see how each movement affects your body. The majority of funding went to manufacturing to scale.

8: Smarty Ring

Raised: $299,049
Goal: $40,000

Image: Indiegogo
 Smarty Ring is a wearable device that allows you to remotely control your phone and never miss a call, text, alarm, tweet, etc.  It uses Bluetooth 4.0 for real-time updates. Contributions made to Smarty Ring were applied to the first round of production and helped transform conceptual design into a real piece of technology.  

9: Neptune Pine

Raised: $801,224
Goal: $100,000

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

Raised: $159,613
Goal: $100,000

Image: Indiegogo
Pivothead Wearable Imaging successfully funded its second-generation product, Pivothead SMART. The campaign ended in January and will be used toward the research and development costs of launching the new product. Pivothead SMART is geared toward content creation. It takes a unique modular approach to smartglasses. The chassis of the glasses contains Bluetooth, LED indicator lights and a camera capable of shooting full HD 1080p video and 8MP still images. The snap-on SmartMods were designed to addresses a few key challenges facing wearable technology: the continual need for more memory, power, and connectivity.

Wearable policy

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.)