The dorm room isn’t just a place of innovation for the all too familiar tale of creating mobile apps and social networks. Eric Migicovsky, the creator of the Pebble e-paper watch, started working on smart watches four years ago in his dorm room at TU Delft. In 2010, Migicovsky launched the inPulse beta, a Blackberry watch. He joined Y Combinator in 2011, generated revenue and raised an additional $375K from a few angel investors. But then Migicovsky found himself in need of more money and as his hands opened to investors, their wallets closed.
Migicovsky turned to Kickstarter to continue with his vision of creating a watch that worked with a smart phone. His team developed Pebble, which connects to your iPhone or Android smart phone. This lightweight watch can run apps which display important messages, show you who’s calling, monitor your workouts (pace and distance, and control your music apps (e.g. Pandora and Spotify). Thanks to an e-paper display, reading the Pebble screen even under direct sunlight is easy. The Pebble team recently announced that the watch will support the new Bluetooth 4.0 standard in addition to Bluetooth 2.1, which can potentially extend the current 7-day-long battery life when paired with a compatible device.
The Kickstarter project will end in less than a week and the Pebble team will have access to the funds. Last month, the Pebble team pledged a goal of $100,000, but to the surprise of the whole team, they received over $10 million in funding from 67,423 backers. The team also plans to publish an open SDK, to let developers improve the Pebble with their own apps.
Investors were not willing to bet on Migicovsky’s watches, but that didn’t stop him. Migicovsky’s perseverance led to Pebble becoming the most highly funded Kickstarter project. More impressive than their funding is the support and enthusiasm from their customers. In September, the company will deliver about 85,000 watches to backers who believed in the project.
The watch is now sold out but you can sign up here to get alerts when more watches become available.