Crowdfunding sites, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, are popular ways for startups to not only raise money but also gain valuable market research on their in-progress products.
New York-based researcher CB Insights built on an earlier study done by Flybridge Capital Partners General Partner Matthew Witheiler, taking a look at hardware companies that raised money via Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
The conclusion: Crowdfunding can serve as good proof-of-market demand to then take to a venture capital firm for later-stage funding.
What follows is a ranking of the 10 most well-funded, crowdfunded startups that began with Indiegogo or Kickstarter, based on how much they’ve raised through VCs.
Oculus $2 billion sale to Facebook
Headquarters: New York
CEO: Adam Sager
Partial List of Backers: Khosla Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures
Canary Connect set a goal of raising $100,000 on Indiegogo last year and ended up pulling in a whopping $1.96 million.
The home security device maker’s sensors track motion, temperature, air quality and sound inside a home or apartment. All of that monitoring can be done via an iPhone or Android device.
The company raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Two Sigma Ventures and Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. That was followed up in March with $10 million in Series A funding from Khosla Ventures and Two Sigma, among others.
Headquarters: Moffett Field, Calif.
CEO: Walter De Brouwer
Partial List of Backers: Relay Ventures, VegasTech Fund, AME Cloud Ventures, Broe Group, Mindful Investors and Redmile Group
Scanadu’s Scout is a scanner that reads a person’s heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure and other vital signs using a smartphone and Bluetooth LE.
The medical device maker’s raised a total of $14.7 million to date, which includes $1.66 million on Indiegogo (original goal was $100,000) about a year ago and a $10.5 million Series A funding round in November.
Headquarters: Burlington, Mass.
CEO: Will Wang Graylin
Partial List of Backers: Visa, Synchrony Financial, Beta Fund
LoopPay is the maker of a mobile payment solution that uses the company’s patented Magnetic Secure Transmission, which allows shoppers to eliminate having to carrying around credit and debit cards by storing card information in a smartphone. The devices can then be used in-store to make purchases.
Visa last month made an undisclosed investment in the company as part of a larger funding round, the financial terms of which were not being disclosed, which included Synchrony Financial, among other investors. That followed $123,788 raised on Kickstarter in November.
7. Peloton Interactive
Headquarters: New York
CEO: John Foley
Partial List of Backers: Tiger Global Management, 102 angel investors
Peloton has secured $14.4 million to date, with its most recent close of $10.5 million in Series B funding. It got its start on Kickstarter, where it raised $307,332 last July.
Peloton makes indoor fitness bikes that come affixed with a 21.5-inch screen that lets users follow along with live and on-demand cycling classes.
The company this year opened an 8,000-square-foot flagship New York cycling studio that includes a full production studio where cycling classes will be filmed and then streamed to Peloton bike owners.
Headquarters: San Francisco
CEO: Phil Bosua
Partial List of Backers: Sequoia Capital
LIFX labs makes what it’s dubbed the “lightbulb reinvented.” The company’s LED, Wi-Fi-enabled bulbs can be controlled with a smartphone. The company also encourages the development of apps with its open API platform.
LIFX raised $1.3 million in 2012 on Kickstarter and secured $12 million in Series A funding from Sequoia Capital in June.
Headquarters: Santa Monica, Calif.
CEO: Julie Uhrman
Partial List of Backers: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mayfield Fund, Nvidia, Shasta Ventures and Occam Partners
Ouya made big waves in 2012 when it raised $8.6 million on Kickstarter, bringing in nearly nine times its original fundraising goal.
The video game console maker sells its gaming system plus a controller for $99. The device works on TVs and lets any developer create games for the console.
The company went on to raise $15 million in a round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers last year.
4. Pebble Technology
Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.
CEO: Eric Migicovsky
Partial List of Backers: Charles River Ventures
Smartwatch maker Pebble got its start on Kickstarter.
The company had a target of $100,000 on the crowdfunding site and ended up raising $10.27 million in 2012.
Pebble went on to raise $15 million in a Series A round last year from Charles River Ventures.
The Pebble smartwatch uses Bluetooth to connect to iOS and Android devices to send alerts to wearers when a call, email or text comes through. The company also promises a life of five-to-seven days without the device needing to be recharged. It starts at $150.
Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
CEO: Alex Hawkinson
Partial List of Backers: Greylock Partners, Highland Capital Partners, First Round Capital, SV Angel, Lerer Ventures and Max Levchin, among others
SmartThings’ hub promises to make any home or apartment smart.
The device connects to the Internet to allow a user to control any connected object in his or her home. An app allows a user to turn on the lights or control temperature settings, among other actions, from a phone.
SmartThings sought to raise $250,000 on Kickstarter, but ended up pulling in $1.21 million in 2012. It later raised $12.5 million in Series A funding from Greylock Partners and Highland Capital Partners.
Headquarters: Somerville, Mass.
President: Max Lobovsky
Partial List of Backers: DFJ Growth, Pitango Venture Capital, Innovation Endeavors
Formlabs was funded in 2012 by Kickstarter backers, who pledged $2.95 million to the 3-D printer maker.
Fast-forward to the following year, and Formlabs raised $19 million in a Series A round led by DFJ Growth.
The company’s Form 1+ printer package, which includes software and one liter of resin, sells for $3,299 and is expected to be delivered next month.
1. Misfit Wearables
Headquarters: Redwood City, Calif.
CEO: Sonny Vu
Partial List of Backers: Norwest Venture Partners, Founders Fund, Horizons Ventures, Khosla Ventures, O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures
Misfit, maker of a wireless activity tracker, recently struck a deal with No. 4 Pebble to make its software compatible with the Pebble smartwatch. It did this in a move to keep the company relevant in anticipation of Apple’s smartwatch release reportedly later this year.
Misfit raised its first sum of capital — $846,675 — on Indiegogo.
It later went on to nab $7.6 million in Series A funding in 2012. It raised another $15.2 million the following year.