Last year, Kickstarter received US$480 million to Kickstarter projects, an astonishing US$913 every minute of every day. It produced an Oscar winner, and it launched satellites into space.
This article isn’t about those guys. Down on the other side of crowdfunding, in the well-hidden spaces you can only get to through exhaustive scrolling, there are huge reserves of truly awful ideas from people who really, really want to be rich, but haven’t thought it through...
The iPhone case that’s a cigarette lighter
Tired of having to look in your pocket for a lighter? Fed up with your iPhone being less than 1cm thick? Sad that your hands aren’t covered in burns? Time for a Firecase: it only adds about as much bulk as a normal iPhone case with two digestive biscuits Sellotaped to the back, and it contains a metal coil that heats up like a car cigarette lighter, letting this century’s go-getters enjoy last century’s respiratory diseases.
Worried about fire? Don’t be - fire is your friend! Also, the Firecase automatically shuts off after five seconds, and it takes most things waaay longer than five seconds to catch fire. Except cigarettes. And human hair.
Asked for: US$20,000
Got: US$734 (3.7%)
The iPhone case that’s a cigarette
You’re at a party, or in a meeting, or just hanging around at the bus stop. A couple of people have iPhones. Is anyone impressed? Nope. You whip out your your new iPhone 5S. There’s a couple of appreciative glances - you got the gold one, obviously - but what happens next blows people’s minds. Attaching an attachment to the Vapecase's built-in 510 eCig connector, you being smoking your phone. Yeah, people are looking now.
Asked for: US$50,000
Got: US$911 (1.8%)
The magic pebble of lies
The TARC aims to replace your smartphone but, according to its Indiegogo page, it ‘is not another electronic device. It has no operating system. It has no transistors. There’s no battery to install.’ Instead, this magic bean ‘amplifies and focuses thought waves’, allowing you to send telepathic messages to other TARC users. It even has its own security, offering ‘mind shielding against psychic attacks’, and battery life is indefinite, because it runs on gullible people's money.
Paris Tosen, creator of the TARC, says he designed it ‘for the kind of person who knows that they came here for a reason’, and that reason is to give money to Paris Tosen.
Asked for: CAD$15,000
Got: CAD$1166 (7.8%)
Cards that let people know you’re a scumbag
If you’ve ever worked as a waiteress, you’ll know how valuable it is to have feedback from your customers. Especially the ones who are angry, or drunk, and who couldn't care less that there’s only one of you and you’ve already been working for ten hours. But what about those moments when your customers are too busy or drunk to properly lecture you on how you’re failing at your job?
Well, now there’s a solution. Instead of the tip they would normally leave to help supplement your barely-survivable wages, they can leave a little card with some clip art and a perky message that tells you off for being a bad servant and exposing them to a tiny inconvenience. Careful not to smudge it with your angry tears!
Asked for: £500
Got: £47 (9.4%)