Kickstarter

The Story Behind Fidget Cube, the $4 Million Phenomenon You Didn’t Know You Needed

If your friends know you to be a restless pen-clicker, you've probably already been tagged a dozen times or so on the promotional video for Fidget Cube. Viewed tens of millions of times across social media thanks to its pickup by viral news sites, the Kickstarter video for Fidget Cube has already generated nearly $4 million from backers for the pocket device—whose designers had only asked for $15,000. And the campaign still has 35 days of fund-raising to go.  Fidget Cube features different tactile doodads on each side, letting you absent-mindedly spin, click, roll or rub the tiny interactive features. It was the brainchild of brothers Matthew and Mark McLachlan, collectively known as Antsy Labs. We caught up with the brothers to learn more about the campaign. Check out the Kickstarter video below, followed by a Q&A that the two tag-teamed via email:

Downton Abbey’s Brendan Coyle Shows His Darker Side in New Esquire Show

Specs Age 51

Kickstarter for Exploding Kittens Asked for $10K Over a Month. It Got $2 Million in 24 Hours

In another crazy viral Kickstarter phenomenon, Mathew Inman, creator of the popular webcomic The Oatmeal, fully funded his Kickstarter for a game called Exploding Kittens in just 20 minutes on Tuesday. In less than an hour, it was 1,000 percent funded. And within just seven hours, it was 10,000 percent funded with over $1 million raised. The Kickstarter is now more than $2 million past its $10,000 goal with 29 days to go. Holy cow. That's even faster than Reading Rainbow reached $1 million.

This Outfit Designed to Help Change Clothes in Public Is at 2,000% of Its Kickstarter Goal

With a tagline like "Change clothes in public without ever getting naked," The Undress has a pretty clear sales proposition, and people are lining up in droves to hand the apparel startup their money. The "mobile changing room" had a Kickstarter goal of $22,000, but when the campaign ends tomorrow, the final tally will be closer to half a million dollars. (UPDATE: At the Kickstarter's conclusion, The Undress had received $615,633 from 7,297 backers.) The problem The Undress is designed to solve—working out and attempting to change into normal clothes without treating your car or gas station restroom as a fitting room. The solution—a dress that you wear that allows you to change without having to do that weird "how many seconds do I have to put my underwear on before someone walks in on me" dance. You'll have to watch the video for the demonstration, but it's an ingenious idea.  At first glance, I wonder how big the market is for people who want to change into clothes without showering after a workout, but $468,000 raised probably answers that question for me. 

LeVar Burton on How He’s Evolving Reading Rainbow and Who Should Really Sing the Theme Song [Video]

Earlier this year LeVar Burton took a major leap of faith with Mark Wolfe, co-founder and CEO of the Reading Rainbow.

This Interactive Time Capsule Wants to Grant You Immortality as a Digital Avatar

Today's cool but slightly horrifying vision of the future comes courtesy of Yourbot, which is a combination of a digital time capsule and man's search for immortality.

Kickstarter Looks to Wash Hands of Broken Promises

Less than a week after the Federal Trade Commission updated its requirements for online retailers, which must provide refunds when goods and services aren’t delivered in a timely fashion, Kickstarter today updated its own 

Q&A: How Reading Rainbow Soared Back, and How It Will Reach Its $5 Million Goal

Things are looking sunnier than ever for Reading Rainbow. After the show's Kickstarter hit its $1 million goal in just 11 hours, the creators set their sights on a new butterfly in the sky: $5 million. With one week left, the Kickstarter is currently at $4 million in pledges from more than 83,000 backers. We caught up with Reading Rainbow co-founder and CEO Mark Wolfe (who wrote and directed the Kickstarter video) and chief marketing advisor Teri Rousseau to find out how they've remained authentic to their brand while reinventing Reading Rainbow for a new generation of digital natives. AdFreak: Tell me a bit about the brand after Reading Rainbow left public television. CEO Mark Wolfe with LeVar Burton Rousseau: The original mission when LeVar and Mark formed RR Kids was to bring back Reading Rainbow for this generation and LeVar very much felt that the way to bring that back was through digital technology. Our original app was for the Kindle Fire and iPad, and it went really well. We had kids reading over 150,000 books a week. It was a top-downloaded app. Wolfe: I think we're just lucky that parents are looking for something. Kids want to spend time in front of an electronic device. When television was the medium, kids wanted to be in front of it, and now it's a tablet. You can't mitigate that; you just have to utilize that as best as possible. Parents are confronted with so many choices, and not many of them are positive choices. Rousseau: We recognize we're competing against the Angry Birds of the world. One of our special elements in the app is our aesthetic. We've developed these beautiful islands where you can discover the books on: Animal Island, Awesome People Island (that's the nonfiction), National Geographic Island. It's fun to just explore that world and it becomes very game-like. Children want fun. Parents want quality content. That's a challenge and that’s a challenge to any family brand: making sure you meet the mark with parents and children both. We had to make it very interactive while making sure we maintained the principles of the linear show. So preserving the credibility of the Reading Rainbow brand was key in the creation of the app? Marketing advisor Teri Rousseau Rousseau: We were very careful with our development. We did do focus testing with both kids and parents. Our mission was bringing the brand back for digital and there's no doubt it resonates with today's families. At the same time, we didn't want to disappoint anyone’s memory of what it was. You had an existing fan base from another generation that you didn’t want to alienate. Rousseau: Those classic episodes still hold up and are available on iTunes. Teachers still use them in the classroom. But I think the opportunity to bring back such a beloved and icon brand has been a once and a lifetime opportunity. Now we know we did it right. We've proved that Reading Rainbow works in this new form, and what we needed to do to bring it to the next level was get help from the community.

The Most Memorable 5-Word Webby Award Speeches

The Webby Awards are known as a celebration of the best content online, but it's also a competition among the winners as to who can give the most clever acceptance speech in just five words.

Kickstarter Tips From Kawehi, Whose Cover Songs Are Conquering the Internet

Most startups and creative talents would be proud to pull off one successful Kickstarter. But multi-talented musician Kawehi has just wrapped up her fifth, this time bringing in 10 times her goal and scoring widespread acclaim for her cover of Nirvana's "Heart-Shaped Box." We recently caught up with Kawehi (pronounced kah-VAY-hee) and asked her what advice she has to share with those aspiring to similar levels of Kickstarter greatness. We've also sprinkled in some of her music below, which will probably go further toward explaining her success than a Q&A could. AdFreak: You've run six Kickstarter campaigns so far, and five have far exceeded your goals. The most recent, Robot Heart, brought in nearly 10 times as much money as you requested. Do you ever think you're being too conservative about what you can raise? Kawehi: Could I raise more than I ask for? With the right amount of work, and with such amazing fans/support team, probably. But I think it's important to only ask for as much as you need.  A lot of people come up with some astronomical number—without doing research and proper planning. I usually make EPs, which run anywhere from three to five songs. It's a much smaller project than an entire album, hence the much smaller funding goal.  I also do a lot more projects than most—it's pretty common to do one Kickstarter project a year. I usually do around three.  It wouldn't feel right to me if I asked for more than I needed three times a year from my amazing fans.