Pebble is a project of a small team of engineers led by Eric Migicovsky, and they previously developed a smart watch for Blackberry called inPulse.
Pebble has received pledges of nearly $5.5 million (at the time of this writing, and rising fast) from over 37,000 backers on Kickstarter, the funding platform for creative projects. This is not an equity fundraising - this is funding obtained from people who believe in the project and want to see it succeed. In general, they get nothing in return other than the satisfaction that they helped the company get off the ground.
Why did Erick Migicovsky go to Kickstarter to fund this project? Based on several reports, it was because he could not receive backing from venture capitalists, despite having gone through the respected Y-Combinator program and having received backing from some respected angel investors.
To me, what Pebble has done is very impressive, and portends favorably for the new crowdfunding form or equity fundraising that was recently passed into law by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. Soon sites like Kickstarter will be able to help companies raise equity financing directly from investors - small amounts - but it will enable people enthusiastic about a project to obtain a (very) small equity stake in the company in addition to helping it get off the ground. This could be big...
Pebble website: http://www.getpebble.com/
Kickstarter website: http://www.kickstarter.com/
Articles on Pebble and Kickstarter:
Prior posts of crowdfunding:
Wall Street Examining JOBS Financing Act: NY Times DealBookhttp://www.allenlatta.com/1/post/2012/04/wall-street-examining-jobs-financing-act-ny-times-dealbook.html
JOBS Act Jeopardizes Safety Net For Investors: Andrew Ross Sorkin
JOBS Fundraising Act to be Signed into Law on Thursday
The JOBS Act is Good, But SarbOx Shouldn't Get All the Blame:
Unintended Consequences of the JOBS Act:
Fundraising Bill Passes Senate: