Kickstarter has a new champion

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The Toronto Star | By: Leonid Bershidsky | Aug 28, 2014

Updated beer cooler

Designer Ryan Grepper wants to sell the public a cooler that’s a party unto itself. He has already accumulated more than $10 million (U.S.), far exceeding its $50,000 target.

Kickstarter has a new champion: an elaborately designed picnic cooler that has drawn the most backing in crowdfunding history.

Crowdfunding, which gathers contributions from the public over the Internet, has so far created few commercially successful products. Pebble smartwatches are perhaps the best-known, unless you count the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, which is still more promise than product. Still, people keep trying: Kickstarter hosted more hardware campaigns in the five months through May than in the previous several years. These campaigns offer a fascinating window into what the public really wants — before the ideas fail for various less interesting technical and business-related reasons.

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Enter the Coolest Cooler, product designer Ryan Grepper’s second attempt to sell the public on a cooler that’s a party unto itself. It has a built-in blender that the inventor claims can make 6 gallons of margaritas on a single charge. Other features include a Bluetooth speaker to play music from your phone, a phone charger, LED lights for those all-night parties, extra-wide wheels to navigate sandy beaches, a rubber strap to hold other luggage and storage space for the included plastic plates and knife. There’s no technological breakthrough, just a serious attempt to turn a mundane object into something fun. A glorified lifehack.

Grepper’s first attempt — which boasted a grill — was a failure, in part because the campaign started in winter and in part because Grepper didn’t have all the details down. This time around, the project has already accumulated more than $10 million (U.S.), far exceeding its $50,000 target. The funding campaign ends Friday .

It’s easy to dismiss the Coolest Cooler’s runaway success as another fluke like the potato salad that raised $55,492 (U.S.). It’s much more than that, sort of like reinventing the bicycle.

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The National Crowdfunding Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada crowdfunding hub providing education, advocacy and networking opportunities in the rapidly evolving crowdfunding industry. NCFA Canada is a community-based, membership-driven entity that was formed at the grass roots level to fill a national need in the market place. Join our growing network of industry stakeholders, fundraisers and investors. Increase your organization’s profile and gain access to a dynamic group of industry front runners. Learn more About Us | About Crowdfunding or contact us at casano@ncfacanada.org.

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