Crowdfunding has become an integral part of business development for a huge number of startups and small businesses – in 2013 the worldwide industry grew to be over $5.1bn. From the Pebble E-Paper Watch, the famous jewel in Kickstarter’s crown, which raised $10,26,845 in just 37 days, to virtual-reality headset Oculus Rift, there have been some big successes that got their springboard from such platforms.As we’ve seen the rise of alternative financing options, there’s also been an increase in downright bizarre attempts to get investment in very peculiar offerings. Most recently, a utilitarian project to save the world from disastrous asteroids has gone to Indiegogo, in a bid to get funding for its $200,000 Emergency Asteroid Defence Project. Started by the aptly named Emergency Asteroid Defence Project, a Danish non-governmental organisation, the project aims to further its research into hypervolicty asteroid intercept vehicles (HAIVs), which are designed to “deflect or disperse asteroids” with only a few days’ warning. To lure generous investors, the EADP is offering everything from bumper stickers to badges in exchange for donations. For those special people who shell out more, gifts could include 3D printing files of the HAIV design, a chunk of asteroid (which actually might be seen as something of a threat depending on your interpretation), or a ride in a rocket car. The project has a way to go yet – at the time of writing 61 people had chipped in $4,891. The EADP may keep the faith yet though – if it looks back over five of the most outlandish crowdfunding ventures we put together here, there have been stranger things to succeed. In the wild world of crowdfunding it doesn’t stop there though, so here are five more weird projects, some of which did indeed receive sufficient backing.
(1) Hungry Castle and Bestival founders were looking for a lot less money than the EADP when they asked for financial assistance in their effort. It was though, still a fairly eccentric request. They wanted Lionel Richie at the festival, but not in his usual form – with £8,016 being pledged to create a giant inflatable sculpture of the singer’s head. Image: Hungry Castle
(2)Never underestimate the power of cute and/or slightly scathing-looking animals to appeal to a mass market. Kate Funk took to Kickstarter with a few succinct questions: “Do you enjoy photos of cats dressed up as magical creatures? Do you use a calendar? Yes? Then we have something awesome for you.” The pitch proved irresistible to the 1,119 backers who raised a cool $25,183 to bring the project to life. Everyone was happy – except possibly the poor cat who had to sit through the whole ordeal and didn’t exactly look chuffed about it. Image: Kate Funk
(3) We all have our own talents, however well-hidden or niche they may be. So, Aaron Schlechter decided the world ought to be gifted with his incredible dog-naming ability. For a dollar he promised to name a dog Donald, for two dollars he’d pick something else, and for a princely $50, he pledged to, “send you a t-shirt that has ‘I gave Aaron Schlechter $50 and he sent me this t-shirt. Act now so you can support Mr.Schlechter’s Kickstarter campaign too and get a similar t-shirt’ written on it in sharpie”. Despite accompanying his pitch with some great illustrations, at the last count Schlechter had only received $659 of his $3,700 goal. Image: Aaron Schlechter Read more on crowdfunding:
- Older demographics are the biggest fans of crowdfunding
- The 15 most oversubscribed equity crowdfunding projects
- Learning from our failed crowdfunding pitch
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