Business Management

Crowdsourcing Innovation 2015: What happened next?

“What happens after a crowdfunding campaign ends?” It’s a question that is usually only answered if a project flounders or gets bought by Facebook.

We regularly cover some of the most interesting technology projects on the likes of Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, and occasionally follow up with some of the more successful startups.

This year we’ve decided to provide a full checklist of every campaign we’ve covered in this series; whether the project succeeded, whether it shipped, and what happened next.

The success stories: Haltian, MindSense, HabitRPG are just a few which made their goal, fulfilled their promises and carried on. There are some – SmartyRing, MindHelix or Tango Tech for example – which had good campaigns but failed to ship despite many promises and then stopped responding altogether. And obviously there are a fair few that had a poor campaign and ultimately gave up the ghost shortly after.

But, ultimately, a successful campaign doesn’t mean you’ve made it, nor does an unfunded campaign mean the end of the line: Companies such as #Charity, Printr and TrewGrip are still going despite poor campaigns, while companies like Laura Sapiens or Pirate3D had a successful campaign and shipped a product but still eventually folded. And many are lost in the ether as either a scam from the start or badly organised and ill-prepared for actually creating and delivering a project. 

Quick stats:

-          58 ran successful projects: 18 are behind on shipping a product, two shipped but have since folded.

-          36 didn’t manage to meet their goal: 20 have folded.

-          Two were acquired, a few folded in or spun out of parent companies, a couple have pivoted, and at least three have managed to find funding from regular channels.

The List:

#Charity: A platform for IT pros to share their skills with charities – Didn’t reach its goal, but received over $250,000 in funding and has launched.

3D Facture: Creator of the Draken hi-res 3D printer – Has shipped, little else to report. 

3D By Flow: Dutch creators of the portable Focus 3D printer – Didn’t make its goal, but are still going and recently won the Maastricht Award for best startup.

AI Watchtech: A standalone smartwatch creator – Failed to reach its goal but still managed to create a product, has since gone dark.

Atiz Innovation: Makers of a smartphone-based document scanner – Made goal and shipped.

Autonomous: Creators of a Smartdesk with digital assistant – Made goal and has started shipping, albeit without the “AI” bit yet. Has opened three showrooms, and launched a new VR campaign on IndieGoGo.

Avatron Software: Creator of the Everydisk file-sharing software – Made goal, still going and recently updated for iOS9.

BareConductive: Touch-sensitive electronic paint and developer board – Made its goal and shipped, still going strong.

Bitsbox: Monthly coding projects kit – Made its goal nearly six times over, shipped, and still going.

Blacksmith Group: 3D Printing manufacturer behind the Genesis – Reached its goal and is still in development a year on.

BlurPort: Secure USB authentication device – Failed to reach goal and site has gone dark.

Braci: A sound-aware smart bracelet - Failed to reach goal, pivoted to become a “sound recognition platform.”

Clickslide: Its Abacus OS aimed to make APIs more interoperable - Failed to reach its target and has now closed, the team having moved over to automation startup Nimblestack.

Cmoar: High-end VR phone holder and controller – Made its goal, missed its shipping date and is still in development.

CombiCloud: Cloud storage management app – Still live.

Connectify: Wi-Fi hotspot software provider – Made its goal, still going, recently launched its Windows 10 beta.

The Content Company: South African company looking to create a Raspberry Pi-based education terminal – Didn’t make goal, sites have gone quiet.

Corey Stone LLC: Creator of the HERO keyboard app – Didn’t meet its goal but is still available and due for an update in December.

CryptoCat: Encrypted chat app from Canada – Didn’t meet it goal, but is still going.

Diamond Fortress: Fingerprint scanning software that uses the phone’s camera – Failed to reach its goal (the project also suffered bad timing as Apple announced its fingerprint scanning tech not long after), sites and social accounts haven’t been updated since July.

Duvon Corporation: Creator of the CloudLocker “Personal Cloud” – Reached target, shipped, and has been folded into parent company StoAmigo.

E-Beeze: Creator of digital signature tech, SignTech – Didn’t meet goal but has been spun out and is still going.

Eggcyte: A handheld Cloud storage device – Made its goal, due to ship very soon.

Endless: Californian startup and creator of a computer made for the developing world - Made its goal, shipped, continuing to help bridge the digital divide.

Exetech: Standalone smartwatch maker – Made goal, but site is down and comments on campaign suggest no word.

EyeControl: Israeli firm creating eye-tracking for people with ALS and other “locked-in” conditions – Made goal and undergoing a product pilot project.

FOVE: Eye-tracking Virtual Reality headset makers – Made its goal and still in development (due next April).

GlassUp: Italian smartglass makers – Made its goal but no product so far. A bulky prototype was shown off last year.

Grhpas Development: A one-man team behind the Petals Office software suite – Didn’t make goal and sites haven’t been updated since then.

HabitRPG: Gamified productivity tool – Made its goal and has morphed into Habitica and provides more 8-bit RPG goodness than ever.

Halo-Digi: Taiwanese touch-screen projector technology – Missed its goal but has re-emerged in shinier form as DAMO.

Haltian: Finnish startup of former Nokia engineers and maker of the ThingSee all-in-one IoT device – Made its goal, shipped, announced partnerships and launching new products.

Icarus: Dutch tablet company trying to make an e-Ink smartwatch – Failed to reach its goal, still sells e-Readers and is on IndieGoGo with a new project.

ICE Computer: Modular computer ecosystem – Didn’t make its goal, sites haven’t been updated since the campaign ended.

iCoaching: A non-QWERTY keyboard app from Switzerland - Made its goal, currently in development.

IdealFuture: Creator of the IF Convertible Laptop/Tablet/Smartphone all-in-one – Has had two very successful campaigns, long overdue on shipping but has finally previewed a working prototype.

Innavatus: A one-man project behind the Tiq electronic debugging tool – Didn’t meet goal, sites haven’t been updated in a while.

Inpris: Israeli Braille keyboard app – Didn’t make its goal but is still going.

Intugine Technologies: Wearable tech company from Bangalore, India – Didn’t make its goal, but had flexible funding and is several months late, promises shipping soon.

Iritech – Eye-scanning company who created a super-secure smartwatch – Didn’t make its goal but is still in business.

JumpShot: Our first ever entry into the series, Jumpshot was a goofy gamified USB that cleaned your computers of bloatware and viruses – Made its goal and was acquired by Avast in September 2013. A new Jumpshot company provides marketing analytics.

Keecker: Entertainment robot from a former Googler – Made its goal, was due to ship in April but has pushed back until the New Year.

Laura Sapiens: Italian company behind the EGO smartmouse – Made its goal and shipped, but never provided Mac support and has since gone quiet.

LookSee Labs: e-Ink smart bracelet makers – Soared past its goal, shipping not due until February.

Lucan Technologies: Company tried to create a desktop tablet – Failed to reach its goal, the company is back with a new smartwatch design.

LusoVU: Portuguese company creating smartglasses for people with ALS or “locked in” conditions – Made goal and has shipped.

MindSense: Creators of intuitive email client Mail Pilot – Made its goal, still going strong. Released Mail Pilot for Apple Watch and released Throttle, which allows you to control who gets access to your email address.

Makerarm: Robotic manufacturing arm that can fit on your desktop – Made its goal, not due to ship until next year.

Memolyzer: German storage management hardware maker – Project failed, site is down. 

Meomni: Open social network from Russia – Failed to reach goal, sites haven’t been updated since the project ended.

MindHelix: Makers of the Rico smarthome device which repurposes old smartphones – Made its goal, but is yet to ship and sites have gone down. Comments on the campaign page suggest it’s unlikely to happen.

Mindstream: Wearable tech from Belize – Reached goal but is overdue on shipping. Tried to raise capital via Crowdfunder, no updates on site since the summer. 

MODR: Modular phone case maker from Canada – Didn’t make goal, but company seems to still be active.

Moggles: Google Cardboard-style VR headset and controller – Didn’t make goal, company is still releasing production pictures.

Momentum Labs: e-Ink smart bracelet maker – Made goal but is late on shipping. Many backers are demanding refunds on the campaign page.

Monolit: Danish programmable IoT device - Made its goal, is very behind on shipping but is still in progress and showed off a prototype recently.    

Motix: Desktop gesture scanning interface – Cancelled its campaign, sites haven’t been updated since the summer.

MyMatics: Dutch 3D printing company behind the Mamba – Made goal, shipped, happy days.

Nexpaq: Modular phone case – Made its goal, has received additional funding. Was due to ship in January (now pushed back to March) and has been regularly sharing updates and prototypes.

Noteu: Smart alarm clock/notification centre from Newcastle – Has been through several iterations on Kickstarter, some successful, some not.

Notion: Multifunction IoT sensor device – Made its goal, is due to ship before the New Year. 

NovaThings: French “Personal Cloud” startup – Recently made its goal, isn’t due to ship until next summer.

Novena: Completely open and hackable laptop – Smashed its goal and has shipped.

OpenProducts AB: Secure Cloud storage service – Made its goal and shipped.

Otherfab: Makers of the Othermill high-precision desktop milling machine – Now known as Othermachine, project made its goal and shipped, has released further updates of product and software. Raised $3 million in funding last year.

PhoneHome: NFC-based home automation stickers – Made goal and shipped, came back for a second campaign (also successfully funded and shipped).

Pirate3D: 3D printer manufacturer from Singapore – Made goal, but has experienced financial trouble and is currently in limbo.

Pi-Top: A Raspberry Pi-powered laptop – Successfully funded and shipped, now back on IndieGoGo with a new project, the Pi-Top CEED.

PivotHead: Makers of eponymous GoPro-cum-smartglasses – Made its goal and shipped.

Pixeom: “Personal Cloud” device with added collaboration elements – Made its goal and is shipping.

PowerUp Toys: Bringing together drones and paper airplanes – Campaign still live but has made its goal, has a good record after a previously successful campaign.

ProtonMail: “NSA-proof” email from a group of boffins at CERN – Made its goal, has recently suffered a massive DDoS attack but seems to be back on track now. 

Purism: Creator of privacy-respecting Librem laptop – Made its goal and is shipping, has come under fire over state of BIOS.

QRccino: QR-code based retail solution for cafes, restaurants etc. – Didn’t meets its goal, sites have gone dark.

RHLvision Technologies: Indian startup behind the Fin smart thumb ring – Made its goal and despite being a year overdue, backers have been promised that shipping will start soon. Has also rebranded as Neyya

Sculptify: Makers of the David 3D printer – Made its goal, no word on whether it shipped and sites haven’t been updated in a year. 

Sesame Enable: Israeli company behind the touch-free Sesame Phone – Made goal and has shipped.

Sharebot: Italian 3D printing company behind the Sharebox3D – Didn’t make goal but the company is still going. A “Personal Cloud” provider that’s always serious – Made its goal and is currently shipping. Won a design award in Poland.

Shuffle: Canadian caller ID anonymity app – Made its goal and recently updated its iOS app.

Slate: Excel add-on to create flowcharts – Didn’t make goal, co-founders now working on new project Task Pipes.

Smart Electronics LLC: Russia-based creator of the Black Swift coin-sized IoT board – Made its goal is due to ship this month.

SmartyRing: Indian smart-ring company – Smashed goal but hasn’t updated sites or backers in a while, and the only prototype it did show was not good

Space Monkey: Excellently-named “Personal Cloud” startup – Made its goal, shipped, and was acquired by smarthome company Vivint last September.

Spell Smartwatch: A one-man project designed to bring together smartwatches and handwriting – Didn’t meet goal, not heard from since.

Street Repairs: An app designed to help drivers report potholes – Didn’t meet goal, but is still going.

Tagtel: Chinese smart stylus manufacturer – Failed to reach its goal, and ended up offering refunds for flexible funding backers.

TangoTech – Another modular computer ecosystem – Did meet its goal, but is behind and hasn’t updated backers in a couple of months.

TouchOne: Australian startup and designer of a keyboard for smartwatches – Campaign is still live.

Techno Run: Iraqi startup hoping to muscle in on the desktop OS market – Didn’t meet its goal and hasn’t updated sites since.

Timedock: New Zealand-based shift-clocking system that uses QR codes and NFC – Didn’t make goal but is still going.  

TrewGrip: Handheld keyboard for your mobiles and tablets – Didn’t meet goal but is still going and is now shipping the product. 

Voltera: Canadian startup behind the V-One rapid PCB prototyping machine – Ran a very successful campaign, starting shipping, and recently won the 2015 International James Dyson Award.

Vufine: Makers of a Google Glass-like attachment for your regular pair of glasses – Made its goal but has missed its shipping date, is still providing regular updates.

Weistek: Chinese 3D printer manufacturer - Campaign ended this week, but did not make its goal.

Whiteboard: Content and contacts aggregating app – Didn’t meetgoal, no updates since.

Widernet: Non-profit behind the eGranery “offline internet on a chip” - Made its goal, still helping bridge the digital divide in Africa.

XOWi: voice-activated wearable tech – Never reached its target, the site recently closed and CEO Ahmed Bouzid is now with Amazon working on Alexa.

Zaak: Creators of the MYVR, the Adobe suite of Virtual Reality experiences – Didn’t meet goal, but has recently launched a beta of their browser-based software.

Zeni Kinetic: 3D printer manufacturer from Utah – Didn’t meet goal, had a second go on IndieGoGo, status currently in flux.


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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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