The Pebble Smartwatch has become something of a tech gadget phenomenon. In just a few days, the idea has raised over $4.3 million in sales, and it isn't even on store shelves yet. The company used Kickstarter, the popular entrepreneurial website where new and interesting ideas get funding from ordinary people, to see their vision into a reality. The Pebble wristwatch has shattered previous records on the site and they are still going. And by still going, I mean they have sold another $1 million in preorder wristwatches since yesterday.
Smartwatches are not even a new idea. Several versions of this product are already available, some with specs that Pebble doesn't even include: color displays, touch screens, microphones and speakers. Allerta, the company behind the Pebble, even has one currently on the market called the InPulse Watch.
The Pebble does have some things that make it unique; practical features that set it apart from the competition. The first, and probably the most important of which, is iPhone support. Strangely, no other smartwatch on the market supports the iPhone, the number one selling smartphone in history.
Also just as important is the Pebbles style and ease of use. The Pebble is thin and small, with a face that fits most wrist straps. Other smartwatches simply look like you have an mp3 player strapped to your wrist. The Pebble features an e-ink display, giving the watch a classic appeal with several watch faces to choose from. And, get this, you can tell what time it is in daylight. This simple feature makes so much sense for a smartwatch it's amazing no-one has done it until now.
Kickstarter has been huge in creating buzz for the new product. The company has seen 4 projects reach the 1 million dollar mark this year. With Pebble shattering those records with $4 million in just a few days, people are jumping on the bandwagon like crazy. Pebble has seen a lot of internet press in the last couple of days, and not just from your typical tech blog spots, Forbes and Time both released articles yesterday.
Pebble has raised the $4.3 million (and climbing) in just 5 days! The previous record on Kickstarter was $3.3 million by the video game Double Fine Adventure. It took them 60 days to achieve those results.
Pebble and Kickstarter make so much sense together. The reward for donations is a Pebble watch at a discounted price. As opposed to other promotional material that is simply associated with the final product, as so many other entrepreneurs offer. Pebble is already selling watches before they even have a final product. For all intents and purposes, they could have just said the price point would be higher when it gets to market to create a perceived value to drive sales.
Either way, start-up tech companies should take a valuable lesson from the marketing power of Kickstarter. Why beg and plead with banks and larger companies for funding, when you can just sell your product before it even comes out and reap all the benefits.
If you haven't seen the Pebble yet, this video will show you all you need to know.
Interesting note: Allerta just sold $40,000 in Pebble preorders in the short time it took to write this article.