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Top 5 Crowdfunding Projects Ever

Entrepreneur Marion Moon turned to online crowdfunding to get her organic fertilizer company off the ground earlier in 2015. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)
Entrepreneur Marion Moon turned to online crowdfunding to get her organic fertilizer company off the ground earlier in 2015. (Hilary Heuler / VOA News)
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A great idea is never enough. You need money to turn your idea into a reality.

Your family and friends may give you money for your idea. But you are going to need more people to invest, unless you have very rich friends and family.

Crowdfunding is a popular way to raise money using the Internet.

Businesses can use crowdfunding to start projects or products. Backers, who donate money, support those products. Sometimes they get the earliest model for a discount.

Not all crowdfunding is used to raise money for profit. Many people and groups use crowdfunding to help the needy.

This week, President Obama called on tech and crowdfunding companies to help raise money for Syrian refugees. Kickstarter and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees responded by starting a Kickstarter project to raise money to help the Syrian refugees.

Also, not all crowdfunding projects are successful. The crowdfunding site Kickstarter only funds projects that meet their goal.

According to Time magazine, Kickstarter has had over 200,000 projects. About half of those projects didn't meet their goals, so they were not funded.

Some crowdfunding projects don't get funded for good reasons. The magazine Digital Trends listed ​"The 10 most hilariously awful Kickstarter projects of all time."

Only some crowdfunding projects are funded. According to Kickstarter, about 36 percent of its projects reach their goal and are funded.

Some projects earn much more money than anyone expected.

Here are the five crowdfunding projects that have raised the most money to date:

5. Coolest Cooler

Crowdfunding site: Kickstarter

Promised ship date: February 2015
Actual ship date: July 2015

Goal: $50,000
Raised: $13,285,226

The Coolest Cooler raised over $13 million dollars from 62,642 backers for an insulated box that keeps your food and drinks cold. But the Coolest Cooler does more than keep things cold.

The Coolest Cooler has been called "the Swiss Army knife" of coolers. The cooler has a charger, light, speaker and much more.

This video shows more about the Coolest Cooler:

4. Ethereum

Crowdfunding sites: Bitcoin and the company website

Raised: $18 million

Launch Date: July 30, 2015

According to the Ethereum website, "Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third -party interference. Ethereum is how the Internet was supposed to work."


Businesses can use Ethereum to communicate over the Internet. It gives them a record of their communications.

Ethereum applications can include exchanging money on the Internet. It also includes message programs.

This article in Tech Crunch explains how the Ethereum product is different from Bitcoin.

3. Pebble Time

Crowdfunding site: Kickstarter

Goal: $500,000
Raised: $20,338,986

Promised ship date: May 2015
Actual ship date: June 2015

Pebble funded its first watch using Kickstarter. Pebble went back to Kickstarter to fund its Pebble Time watch with a color screen in February 2015.

Pebble Time raised over $1 million in less than an hour and $8.5 million by the end of the first 24 hours of the project.

Pebble Time raised over $20 million and is the most successful Kickstarter project so far.

This watch works with both iPhone and Android, and has a one- battery life.

Learn more about Pebble Time in this video:

2. Elio Motors

Crowdfunding sites: StartEngine and the company website

Raised: $37 million to date

Promised ship date: 4th quarter 2016

Elio Motors has a goal of raising funds for a new type of car.

The Elio car gets 84 miles per gallon (35.7 km per liter) on the highway. The driver sits in the front seat and the passenger sits in the back seat.

The car has a base price of $6,800.

The company is still taking deposits for its three-wheeled, two-passenger car. So far over 46,000 cars have been reserved.

You can learn more about the Elio Motors vehicle in this video:

This article in Tech Crunch explains how the motor company used the fundraising method to produce the new car.

1. Star Citizen

Crowdfunding sites: Kickstarter and Company website

Goal: $500,000
Raised: $90 million to date

Promised ship date: November 2014
Actual ship date: Unknown

Star Citizen is a multi-player Internet video game set in outer space.

This crowdfunding project started on Kickstarter in 2012 with a goal of $500,000. Star Citizen raised over $2 million on Kickstarter.

The company also uses its own website for crowdfunding and has raised over $90 million in total to date.

This​ CNBC article explains why the game designer of Star Citizen started a campaign outside of Kickstarter

This video gives you a preview of Star Citizen:

Star Citizen has had troubles even though it raised a record amount of money.

Some are wondering what the company has done with all the money it raised. An unhappy backer has threatened a lawsuit against the company.

Your Thoughts

Have you ever backed a crowdfunding project? Are you surprised by the success of these crowdfunding projects? Have you ever wanted to crowdfund an idea? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below or on our Facebook page!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr wrote this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.


Words in This Story

invest - n. to spend (money) on building or improving something

crowdfunding - n. the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.

backer - n. a person or group that gives support to someone or something

project - n. a planned piece of work that has a specific purpose (such as to find information or to make something new) and that usually requires a lot of time

fund - v. to provide money for (something)​

goal - n. something that you are trying to do or achieve

cancel - v. to stop doing or planning to do (something) : to decide that something (such as a game, performance, etc.) will not happen

decentralize - v. to change (something) by taking control, power, etc., from one person or group and giving it to many people or groups throughout an area

platform - n. a program or set of programs that controls the way a computer works and runs other programs

censor - v. to examine books, movies, letters, etc., in order to remove things that are considered to be offensive, immoral, harmful to society, etc.

communicate - v. to give information about (something) to someone by speaking, writing, moving your hands, etc.

currency - n. something that is used as money

lawsuit - n. a process by which a court of law makes a decision to end a disagreement between people or organizations