Glowforge is an extremely successful, Seattle-based startup that broke numerous Crowdfunding records. Under the leadership of Dan Shapiro, Glowforge started out as a company that wanted to create “a simple device that could print anything from furniture to handbags to sushi.” Shapiro had seen previous success on crowdfunding platforms with his board game targeted at Children, Robot Turtles, and so, held a firm belief in crowdfunding to get Glowforge up and running. He teamed up with Seattle-based tech veterans, Tony Wright and Mark Gosselin in 2015 to launch Glowforge’s first kickstarter campaign.
Their first campaign, one of the most successful to date, saw them receive over $27 million, easily surpassing Pebble Time’s previously held record of $21 million in just over 30 days. This came as a surprise even to their founder, Shapiro, who expected not more than $2 million over the month-long campaign. Moreover, Glowforge only required $100,000 to get their first wave of units ready for shipping. Naturally, the immense reaction to their kickstarter campaign fueled much more demand, as Glowforge offered up their printed to crowdfunders for $1,995, although it would later retail for $3,995. Through their kickstarter campaign, they reached customers in more than 70 countries, receiving orders, according to Shapiro, “every minute.” This allowed them to engineer a laser that could cut and engrave a plethora of raw materials, including leather, plastic, wood, fabric, cardboard and much more. After they reached their kickstarter goal in less than 24 hours, they were able to add further functionality to their product – smartphone sensors, Wireless compatibility, dual cameras and depth-perception instruments, to name a few, soon found their way to Glowforge’s 3d printer.
After the immense success of their first wave of crowdfunding, Glowforge received further monetary support from tech leaders based out of Seattle, garnering more than $9 million in May of 2015. Today, Glowforge has continued to grow, revising and upgrading their line of 3D printers and stands testament as one of the most successful, crowdfunded startups of all time.
Crowdfunders, on the other hand, could contribute in three tiers – $69 got them a clip-on tracker, $99 got them one smartwatch and $159 meant two watches with all bonus features included. In total, Pebble Time managed to generate over $20 million in investment, even though they only started out with a goal of $500,000, speaking volumes about the success they enjoyed as well as the market niche they were able to identify. With over 75,000 crowdfunders, Pebble Time needed only 32 days (cumulatively!) to generate this amount, making them one of the most successful crowdfunded services to date.
A few months after their third campaign, Migicovsky realized that there was an inherent need to scale up operations and so, abandoned the crowdfunding model. Instead, he decided to sell the company to Fitbit. Fitbit paid over $23 million for access to Pebble Time’s intellectual properties and watchmaking processes, giving them overarching control over Pebble Time. In total, Pebble Time shipped over two million units, making them one of the most successful crowdfunded startups, while their services have assimilated into Fitbit, who offer support for Pebble Time products to this very day.
Make your dreams fun and your life will be fun.
Mark did the mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, firmware, and v1 software at the past two companies he founded. His last startup sold for $112M. He built a combination plasma torch, 3D printer, laser, & milling machine in his garage. For fun.