I’m always intrigued to research the offbeat business concepts that find success in the increasingly popular crowdfunding arena. It’s an endless supply of inspirational stories, as well as encouragement to find ways to follow your dream. Here are some of my favorites:
- Chatype. If you have any doubt that people have visceral, emotional relationships with fonts, look up some of the reactions to Comic Sans. The Chatype campaign raised funds to cover the licensing of the official font of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and now the distinctive lettering can be found on everything from bike lanes to library flyers.
- Pizza Brain. Located in Philadelphia, Pennyslvania, Pizza Brain is the world’s first pizza museum and restaurant. It houses the largest collection of pizza memorabilia – like a pizza cutter shaped like the USS Enterprise. It’s also serving up award-winning pizza.
- Inman Park Squirrel Census. Yep. Squirrel counting. What may seem like a trivial and mundane endeavor not only united an Atlanta, Georgia community, but it also inspired a line of census-themed t-shirts and infographics.
- Griz Coat. Add this garment to the list of things you didn’t know you needed. According to the campaign, “It’s not a costume. It’s a lifestyle.” You can embrace your inner grizzly with the original design, or you can opt for the newer wolf or polar bear designs.
- Let’s Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum. In response to the shocking (pardon the play on words) lack of a museum dedicated to the brilliance of inventor Nikola Tesla, this Indiegogo campaign raised over $1.3 million!
- Bug-a-salt. Begone, flies and mosquitoes! This wildly successful Indiegogo campaign funded the production of air-powered guns that blow away bugs using ordinary table salt as ammunition. The original campaign sold more than 20,000 guns, and a new campaign is underway to build the new and improved Bug-a-salt 2.0.
- Rob Ford Crackstarter. The Website Gawker created an Indiegogo campaign in order to raise the funds necessary to purchase the video of Toronto mayor, Rob Ford smoking crack. Although Gawker lost contact with the owner of the video, the funds they raised were donated to Canadian charities that work to deal with the problems associated with illegal drug abuse.
- Breathometer. An app that’s both a party game and a safety measure, this campaign enables users to turn their smartphones into a breathalyzer. You can determine your BAC, record, and track your results.
- Yellow Jacket. Based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, this campaign – started by a former member of the US Army – funded the production of an iPhone case that not only protects your phone, but also turns it into a 650,000-volt stun gun. Intended to be used for personal protection, the Yellow Jacket was built after the campaign raised over $100,000.
- Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium. London’s first cat emporium, Lady Dinah’s provides a home for rescued cats, as well as a way for visitors to enjoy a relaxing cuppa with the resident felines. The venue provides pet first aid courses, as well as yoga classes, and it is currently taking reservations for tea up to 50 days in advance.
In addition to providing simple entertainment, this list of successful crowdfunding campaigns is a reminder that you can find success in unusual niches, as long as you tell your story in a compelling way.