Largest IndieGoGo Campaign Sparked by Inventor
BY Kathleen Kim
A campaign geared at raising funds to claim Nikola Tesla's defunct laboratory successfully soared past its funding goal this week.
Though dead for more than 70 years, Nikola Tesla just made a contribution to crowdfunding history. Well, sort of.
Sparked by the electrical pioneer's legacy, IndieGoGo campaign "Operation Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum" generated more than $1.37 million by its final run-date on Saturday. The campaign, which raised funds for non-profit Tesla Science Center to turn a Tesla laboratory into a museum, is the crowdfunding platform's largest campaign to date, AllThingsD reported.
Helmed by artist Mathew Inman, creator of web comic The Oatmeal, the campaign broke its funding goal of $850,000 within a week in mid-August. It accumulated more than 33,000 backers from 102 countries by the end of its run.
Known for his work with alternating currents in the 1900s, Tesla collected about 300 patents for his inventions (gas engine spark plugs, for example) before he died penniless and forgotten in 1943. His only remaining laboratory is called Wardenclyffe.
With the funds, Tesla Science Center will now offer to buy Wardenclyffe from New York State, Inman said.
On The Oatmeal blog, Inman wrote about Tesla Science Center's efforts. Another company vying for Wardenclyffe planned to "tear the laboratory down and turn it into a retail establishment," he added. To claim the property, billed at $1.6 million, the organization needed $850,000 to receive a matching reimbursement grant from New York State.
An avid fan of Tesla, Inman decided to kindle support through a campaign on IndieGoGo. "I personally own a Tesla lighting gun that fires bolts of electricity out of one end," Inman added. "I would love to have that at the museum."
On IndieGoGo, backers make pledges and receive rewards called perks. Inman offered perks--ranging from bumper stickers to custom portraits--in exchange for pledges in increments of three, Tesla's favorite number.