19 Weird Crowdfunding Campaigns That Failed Spectacularly by Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist
Crowdfunding has been a game-changer for getting new products off the ground.
Platforms like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo have allowed aspiring entrepreneurs to get their ideas in front of millions, while generating invaluable amounts of buzz and publicity. Highly successful campaigns include products or proposals such as Ethereum, Oculus Rift, Pebble, or Star Citizen, which have combined to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in new capital.
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However, because crowdfunding is open to everyone, not every campaign brings home the bacon. In reality, some campaigns are just plain strange or border on being nonsensical in nature.
Other ideas just bomb spectacularly. Either the concept has no product-market fit, or the prototype simply doesn’t do what it is supposed to do.
Weird Crowdfunding Fails
Today’s infographic comes from SSLs, highlighting 19 crowdfunding campaigns that were not destined to change the world in any meaningful capacity.
Note: These are all reward-based crowdfunding campaigns. Along the right-hand side of the infographic, it shows the platform used, amount raised, and the fundraising goal. Down the middle, it highlights the most ridiculous reward that was offered to backers, and how many people claimed the reward.
Where did some of these projects fall short? What can we learn from them?
Some projects such as the Induratus nuclear bunker were destined for failure because they were inherently selfish. The product could have been great, but if it doesn’t benefit the backers, it’s not going to take off. Sadly, the Induratus raised just $1, and as a result the project’s creator is now left very vulnerable to nuclear attacks.
The Triton, a set of artificial gills that could allow a user to breathe underwater, had the opposite problem. While the creators behind the project got the hundreds of thousands of dollars of funding they needed, the idea turned out to be scientifically impossible. In fact, the development of similar technology has eluded the world’s top scientists and military contractors for years. The group behind the product was forced to refund backers to the tune of $900,000.
Other projects were scientifically viable, while also solving a perceived market need. However, the problem with these products were that they did not serve a large enough market to make sense. The Sauceman’s Satchel is a good example of this.
While the creator loved the idea of a “convenient, carry-able, flyable, sauce transport” for camping and travel needs, the market overwhelmingly did not. That’s why it only raised about 40% of its funding goal from 105 backers. Now, the Sauceman Satchel is only serving sauce-lovers in product pitch heaven.