Kickstarter and its growing list of competitor platforms have made it easier than ever to pass the proverbial hat around to anyone even remotely interested in your new product or idea. And while much ado has been made of the very real possibility of getting ripped off when you give an Internet stranger money in exchange for something that doesn't yet exist, the sheer amount of loot that's been put up over the last few years suggests it hasn't done much to dissuade the backers.
Just how much scratch are we talking? To give you an idea, here's what the 15 most financially successful Kickstarter campaigns to date have raised. Looks like the indie gamers have got this money-making method on lock.
15. Double Fine Adventure
Money pledged: $3,336,371 of $400,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 834%
What is it? An adventure game from one of the most respected modern video game designers.
14. Dash Wireless Earbuds
Money pledged: $3,390,551 of $260,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 1,304%
What is it? A set of wireless earbuds ideal to wear while working out.
13. The Micro
Money pledged: $3,401,361 of $50,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 6,802%
What is it? "The first truly consumer 3D printer."
12. Reaper Miniatures Bones
Money pledged: $3,429,235 of $30,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 11,430%
What is it? A set of new pewter and plastic sci-fi and fantasy game miniatures.
Money pledged: £2,335,119 of £125,000 goal ($3,553,187 of $190,203 goal)
Exceeded goal by: 1,868%
What is it? An autonomous drone that shoots photos and HD video.
10. Mighty No. 9
Money pledged: $3,845,170 of $300,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 427%
What is it? A new Mega Man-esque video game from a group of original Mega Man developers.
9. Project Eternity
Money pledged: $3,986,929 of $1,100,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 362%
What is it? In nerd-speak, "an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world."
8. Torments: Tides of Numenera
Money pledged: $4,188,927 of $900,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 465%
What is it? Again, in nerd-speak, "A story-driven CRPG set in the world of Monte Cooke's Numenera."
7. Reading Rainbow Reboot
Money pledged: $5,408,916 of $1,000,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 540%
What is it? A Levar Burton-helmed effort to bring the iconic kids' series' library of interactive books and video field trips to more platforms and classrooms in need.
6. Exploding Kittens
Money pledged: $5,679,222 (so far) of $10,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 54,960% (so far)
What is it? A card game for people who are "into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats," developed by a team comprised of Xbox's chief design officer and the guy behind online comic The Oatmeal.
5. The Veronica Mars Movie
Money pledged: $5,702,153 of $2,000,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 285%
What is it? A movie version of the cult favorite TV show, cancelled in 2007.
4. Pono Music
Money pledged: $6,225,354 of $800,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 778%
What is it? A hi-def music player and proprietary digital streaming service from Neil Young.
Money pledged: $8,596,474 of $950,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 904%
What is it? A new plug and play TV gaming console from the developer of the Jambox.
2. Pebble Watch
Money pledged: $10,266,845 of $100,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 10,266%
What is it? A customizable E-ink smartwatch compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
1. Coolest Cooler
Money pledged: $13,285,226 of $50,000 goal
Exceeded goal by: 26,570%
What is it? A party-ready cooler on wheels with a built-in USB charger, blender, removable Bluetooth speaker, and LEDs.
Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor, and kicking himself for not inventing this ridiculous cooler first.