Crowdfunding platform Indiegogo said it has seen an increasing number of startups with wearable technologies similar to Google Glass and Apple Watch listing on its website.
The Kickstarter rival, which gives any startup anywhere the opportunity to raise money, providing they have an internet connection, currently features dozens of wearable campaigns on its website.
Indiegogo marketing and community manager Anastasia Emmanuel said there were “hardly any” wearable campaigns on Indiegogo six years ago. “Now we see wearable campaigns being listed every day,” she told Techworld at the Glazed Conference in East London last week.
Crowdfunding involves campaigners offering contributors non-monetary perks in return for their cash donations. These perks can be anything from prototype devices, to getting a name added to a mural on the wall of a restaurant, or getting to vote where a celebrity chef will appear on tour.
The relatively new funding method allows wearable startups to get a lot of data, future customers and a community, according to Emmanuel.
Gartner predicts that by 2016 worldwide revenue for wearable electronic devices, apps, and services for fitness and personal health will be worth £3.1 billion.
However, until now, a large number of wearable startups and hardware startups have struggled to raise money due to a number of reasons.
“Venture capitalists and investors are a little bit wary of hardware because it’s so much more expensive," said Emmanuel. "There are sensors and mass production and scale."
By comparison software is relatively easy to scale and inexpensive to produce, she claimed.
One hardware firm called Canary was repeatedly shunned by venture capitalists because the investors were unsure whether there was a market for the company's home security device.
"They [Canary] decided 'screw it', we’re going to go to Indiegogo," said Emmanuel. "They raised $1.8 million (£1.1 million) and suddenly the investors were knocking on their door."
Founded in San Francisco in 2008 by Danae Ringelmann, Slava Rubin, and Eric Schell, Indiegogo has hosted 250,000 campaigns from 224 countries.
Indiegogo wearable success stories
- Misfit Shine: an elegant, wireless activity tracker - From San Francisco, Misfit Shine is an all-metal construction. Tiny so you can wear it anywhere. Tracks cycling and swimming, not just steps. To sync, just lay on phone.
Goal: $100,000 (£62,000)
Raised: $846,675 (£524,676)
Exceeded goal by 840 percent
- SKULLY AR-1 The World's Smartest Motorcycle Helmet – from San Francisco, Skully has heads-up display, rearview camera and GPS navigation.
Goal: $250,000 (£155,000)
Raised: $2,108,154 (£1,306,402)
Exceeded goal by 843 percent
- TrackR bravo - The Thinnest Tracking Device. Ever. – From Santa Barbara, TrackR, a simple way to keep track of items using your smartphone. Lose Things? Relax, TrackR bravo has your back.
Goal: $20,000 (£12,000)
Raised: $1,308,945 (£811,140)
Exceeded goal by 6,545 percent