A University of Waterloo grad who relocated to Silicon Valley has set a new fundraising record for his crowd-sourced startup.
In less than one week, Allerta Inc., which makes the Pebble watch that connects to smartphones, has raised about $3.6-million (U.S.) from 25,000 people through the website Kickstarter.com. Before this, the site's previous fundraising record was $3.3-million (U.S.) for the video game Double Fine Adventure.
Here's how Kickstarter works: instead of reaching out to traditional venture capital investors, individuals, or companies, can set up a Kickstarter page and ask the general public for money. In return, 'investors' are rewarded. If you pledge $125 or more to Allerta, you get a Pebble watch in any colour; if you pledge $1,000 or more, you get a 'distributor pack' with ten Pebbles in any colour.
Allerta, which is run by Canadian-born entrepreneur Eric Migicovsky, has seen its fundraising effort go bananas from the very start. Last week the Globe pointed out that the company raised $100,000 in just two hours, and today the National Post noted that it has now broken the Kickstarter record.
So what exactly does the Pebble offer to create such a craze? It connects wirelessly by Bluetooth to iPhones and Android smartphones, allowing users to receive things like calendar alerts and Facebook messages on their wrists. (A detailed video can be found here.)
Allerta has been working on the Pebble for about three years now, and people who pledge money on Kickstarter will help to both move the company closer to production and to fund global Bluetooth certification.