From ill-defined prototypes to full-fledged products, crowdfunding platform Indiegogo has helped mint millions for virtually unknown product innovators, and turned a few into household names.
Products that have hit it big on Indiegogo include crowd-driven products like Whirlpool's home-brewed beer dispenser, or the Misfit Shine activity tracker, which got bought by watch-maker Fossil for $260 million.
This week, crowdfunding accelerator Crowdcreate held a demo day at Indiegogo's San Francisco headquarters. The company responsible for helping cash-starved upstarts become runaway hits — like Mokacam, which raised over 1 million dollars and more — showcased some soon to be released campaigns, as well as a few that are already live.
A crowdfunding accelerator helps companies that have a fully developed prototype execute a successful crowdfunded campaign. To date, the company has helped raise roughly 3 million dollars for various campaigns.
"Getting a product from development stages to becoming a well-known project is still very challenging," Crowdcreate Co-Founder Ivan Kan told CNBC. "There's still a lot of projects that go up there — a lot of it gets lost in the noise. Our specialty is to craft a story."
A crowdfunding accelerator takes on campaigns with fully working prototypes, ensuring that they can deliver to their customers once funded, a strategy Kan told CNBC was in keeping with the company's efforts to democratize product innovation.
"Why does everything new have to be completely secretive? Why don't you put it to the people — let people decide what they want and create it," said Kan. With crowdfunding as an option for product launches, individuals as well as small businesses have a chance to put an idea out there and let future consumers vote with their money, he added.
The accelerator consults with crowdfunded brands, from conception to completion. One of its clients, Mokacam, is a 4K camera which raised over a million dollars on Indiegogo. Now, the camera-maker, which bills its creation as the world's smallest, is ready to launch its second product.
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Hong Kong–based Mokacam creator, Raymond Wang, started out with a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera, but found them too heavy to carry easily. He then sought to find a more portable and reasonably priced solution consumers could use, and came up with the idea of the Mokacam.
Competitors in the space like Polaroid Cube or GoPro, Wang said, didn't capture video in the quality he was looking for or weren't easy for an unskilled user to use. Wang told CNBC that he saw the future of camera as being something so small and indistinct that it would look like "not having a camera at all."
The second generation of the Mokacam will be a 360-degree camera with more advanced video capabilities.
Alongside Mokacam's successor at the Demo Day were a number of other products that Crowdcreate has helped launch or will be launching in coming months. One of those was the Snore Circle, a device that claims it can actually block snoring.
The device is worn over the ear and identifies snoring sound. With bone conduction and sound recognition technologies, it then intervenes with micro sounds and vibrations.
Separately, Ventifresh is an odor detection unit for small spaces. The rechargeable gadget uses ultra-violet technology, as well as platinum dioxide technology, to break down odor molecules. The product is meant to be purchased once without having to purchase additional parts like filters.
— By CNBC's Deborah Findling.