Getting Your Kicks
Like most San Franciscans, I like being hip to groundbreaking design. Especially when it’s conceptualized by locals. Since I don’t have time to peruse the hundreds of blogs that exist across different industries (and really, who does?), one of my best resources to track down the work of homegrown creatives is Kickstarter.
Kickstarter is leading the way in crowdsource funding, with a plethora of San Francisco ideas being funded. It’s the ultimate design marketplace – I’ve personally funded over 10 projects, often preordering products that aren’t available to the public yet. Here are a few of my favorites from our awesome city:
How bad did you want those auto-lace-up sneakers from Back To The Future Part II? Local techie and designer Blake Bevin managed to secure $25k from backers to do just that with Power Laces – hoverboard not included.
Building off the original Eisner-nominated comic of the same name, the Transmetropolitan Art Book brought together loads of artists to contribute work inspired by the series. Oh, and they raised a whopping $46k to be donated to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
So you have an iPhone and want a wireless speaker to play your music? Designers John and Vitor raised almost one million dollars in preorders for their beautifully designed Hidden Radio Bluetooth Speaker system.
From the crazy kids that brought you YouTube favorites like “The Twilight Zone” and “The Coffee Wars of SF,” improv group Killing My Lobster raised $21k to help find a new theater space.
Coffee Joulies, revolutionary items from Dave & Dave keep your coffee hotter, longer. I was one of almost 5,000 backers who raised over $300k for the project – I have them at my office and I can tell you: They work.
Savvy restaurateur Matt Semmelhack raised over $28k in funds to open up SF’s AQ. Those who pledged $1,500 get a four-course dinner for two, twice a year – forever.
Fish tanks are so 2011. Behold the Desktop Jellyfish Tank, which raised over $160k from 515 backers. It’s like a lava lamp that’s alive, dude.
Local designer Peter Dering raised a whopping $364k for the Capture Camera Clips System, a new way to securely hold on to your SLR, while maintaining accessibility, too. I have one for my camera; my friends have them too.
Here in SF, we love our bikes. What better way to bling out your ride than to add 8-bit light graphics to your wheels? Designer MonkeyLectric raised over $67k to help you do just that with the Mini Monkey Light.
They may be losing their current home this year, but did you realize that Hayes Valley Farm raised over $22k on Kickstarter to stay alive and kicking last year?
Entrepreneur Dan Whaley netted more than $100k to establish Hypothes.is, an open source system for annotating and reviewing Internet media. It’s like Wikipedia on steroids!
Jane McGonigal pulled together almost $65k to fund Gameful HQ, a site where developers can come together to change the world through games. Sounds like a good premise for a movie to me.
Interested in taking a plunge into the wide world of “kickstarting?” Go make an account on Kickstarter.com and start browsing around for projects that inspire you – or just some cool stuff that you want to own. I always make it a point to look at projects in the San Francisco area, that way I know my money stays close to home. Kickstarter recently made it even easier to find cool projects by letting you follow your Facebook friends and see what they decide to back. Happy funding!