Today’s world is more social and connected than it has ever been. Media such as Facebook or Twitter is the most universal manifestation of this, but crowd-funding platforms produce the most tangible results of communities coming together to create something new.
Kickstarter is perhaps the most widely known and has helped bring to life numerous projects, from creative works to new inventions. More than a few travel-related products have sprung into existence as a result of successful Kickstarter campaigns. Here’s a sampling of some ideas brought to market this way.
Development began: Mid-2015
Kickstarter goal: S$10,000 ($7,000)
Funding achieved: S$23,000 ($16,300)
Available to download free on App Store and Google Play
Travelerbuddy wasn’t the first travel management app to hit the market, but nonetheless it contains numerous helpful features. Combining a number of different applications, the app allows you to generate an itinerary by forwarding your bookings and information to the Travelerbuddy team, receive real-time travel alerts, make expense claims, sync with your calendar, and collate all your documents in one place for easy online or offline access. It even checks ahead of time whether your passport is out of date, and informs you of specific customs and health documents you will need for your destination. travelerbuddy.com
Development began: Mid-2014
Kickstarter goal: A$50,000 ($38,000)
Funding achieved: A$202,000 ($153,300)
A combination padlock and luggage tracker, Air Bolt managed to hit its Kickstarter target in a matter of days. Its creators eventually gleaned 400 percent funding by the end of their campaign. Air Bolt can be controlled using a smartphone app, unlocking when a code is input or a smart device comes within Bluetooth range. As a security measure against theft, you can set the lock to sound an alarm when it gets too far away from your device. Crowd-sourced GPS also enables users to track their bags – the charge lasting a year before needing to be topped off via micro-USB. theairbolt.com
Development began: January 2015
Kickstarter goal: $5,000
Funding achieved: $5,135
Available to download free on the App Store and Google Play
Travelers can claim rewards for a whole variety of things on the road, from hotel stays to flights to purchases at retail outlets. But user-to-user social app Jetzy is taking this idea further by rewarding its users for posting photos, sending messages and referring friends to use the platform.
Jetzy is designed as a geolocation-based, user-driven platform for travelers to get instant local recommendations for hidden gems in a destination, meet new people and share their experiences while on a trip. The more they use Jetzy, the faster users can earn Jetpoints that can be redeemed for rewards such as spa vouchers, meals and free trips. jetzyapp.com
Development began: April 2015
Kickstarter goal: £35,000 ($44,300)
Funding achieved: £42,733 ($54,100)
Developed by Hong Kong-based A-Onetech Limited, Air Halo has been touted as the first cordless mobile air sanitiser powered by Plascide reactors, which use plasma to destroy germs. Essentially, this means that the thermos-sized sanitizer doesn’t need to have its filters changed.
Good news for travelers concerned about rogue pollutants or germs in their hotel rooms, Air Halo is able to run for three hours on a single charge, and can be charged using a USB plug. Two can also be combined in a yin/yang-style embrace to fit into a cup holder. air-halo.com
Development began: Mid-2016
Kickstarter goal: €30,000 ($32,400)
Funding achieved: €65,837 ($71,000)
The Evolus 3 docking system was designed by German-based Enblue Technology to provide a multi-device charging station that won’t become obsolete the minute new sizes of Apple gadgets are rolled out. The system includes charging spots for an Apple Watch, iPhone and iPad, along with a separate USB port on the side. The height of the adapters that connect with the devices can also be adjusted so you don’t need to remove any cases on your gadgets.
Specifically designed with travelers in mind, the Apple Watch charger can also be detached as a separate, smaller module, and with its own Lightning cable port can be used as a dual-charger for another device. There’s also space inside the module to wrap up the cable. eu.enbluetec.com
Development began: 2013
Kickstarter goal: $20,000
Funding achieved: $85,860
According to founder and CEO Joseph Hyman, “Mojoe is not here to replace your coffeemaker at home. [It] was designed to deliver a high-quality coffee experience when you are not at home.”
The brewer and mug combo uses vacuum and drip brewing to make the coffee. Users pour water of any temperature into the mug, add some coffee grounds, press a button and the device heats the water up to 200 degrees before dripping through the grounds. It doesn’t need to be stationary in order to work, so it can brew in your bag, on a flight or in a moving car. Variable strengths of coffee can be set, while a reusable filter can also be bought to allow you to brew with your own ground coffee, tea bags or loose-leaf tea. mojoebrewing.com
How does Kickstarter work?
• An individual or company creates an online fundraising campaign on kickstarter.com
• They set a target for how much funding they require and set the duration of the campaign (Kickstarter suggests 30 days or less, as shorter campaigns tend to have higher success rates)
• The public, or “backers,” pledge money toward campaigns that interest them – donations can range from spare change to hundreds of dollars
• Backers receive rewards – anything from early copies of the product to bonus features once it’s been developed – depending on the amount they pledge
• When a campaign ends, projects that hit their target receive their funds, along with any additional funding above their initial estimate. Those that fail to reach their targets receive nothing. kickstarter.com