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A ‘Kickstarter Darling’ and CES: How Pebble Defied the Odds

If you can raise $6 million on Kickstarter, chances are good that your idea may go somewhere. Which is exactly what happened to the maker of a Bluetooth watch that showed up at the Consumer Electronics Show last week.

I wrote about the Pebble watch halfway through last year—right after the startup earned an outrageous $6 million on Kickstarter, the fund-raising website that brings together artists/writers/inventors/etc. and financial backers for their work.

For the most part, Kickstarter seemed more for artists trying to raise a couple bucks to finish a novel than a source of serious financial backing for a business venture.

In the case of Pebble, though, founder Eric Migicovsky and his buddies couldn’t find investors for their phone-watch idea. They’d developed a watch that acts like a Bluetooth for your Android or iPhone, displaying data from your phone on the watch.

Pebble Watch

They couldn’t get backing the traditional way, so they tried Kickstarter and ended up raising their goal of $100,000 within the first couple hours of the project, according to CNN.

(To give you a frame of reference, it took a buddy of mine a couple months to raise $5,000 to send a short film he made to indie film festivals.)

Despite the Kickstarter success, I was still a little surprised to see Pebble at the Consumer Electronics Show. It seemed to suggest a shift in how startups can make it to the big leagues through social networking like Kickstarter.

The Guardian called Pebble ‘a Kickstarter darling’ and one of a vanguard of new products intended to work with our smartphones—with the smartphone becoming the ‘ruler of a kingdom of multiplying subjects.’

“It will complement your smartphone,” Migicovsky told the Guardian.

I’m sure it will. Along with other products linked to smartphones, such as apps that enable diabetics to closely monitor their blood sugar and other health-geared gadgets such as weight-loss tools that link to smartphones.

Not bad for a Kickstarter darling.

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More Stories By Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the host of NBC Universal’s Live Digital with Shelly Palmer, a weekly half-hour television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5′s (WNYW-TV New York) Tech Expert and the host of United Stations Radio Network’s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment.