For many entrepreneurs, Kickstarter represents a level playing field where good ideas can find people with the cash to help make their dream a reality.
Just look at the success of the legendary Potato Salad, where a guy tried to raise the funds to make, well, potato salad -- and ended up raising over $55,000 and throwing a potato party for charity.
But not every good idea survives contact with the real world, and we've seen a lot of high-profile flameouts from ambitious Kickstarter projects that just couldn't deliver, like the "world's thinnest watch."
And then there are weird, bad crowdfunding projects like the case of the Indiegogo campaign that promised it could build gills for humans, but that's a whole different issue.
Here's a look at the most successful Kickstarter projects of all time, and where they are today. Spoiler alert: Despite their rocky recent history, Pebble shows up a bunch.
"Reading Rainbow," the beloved kids' TV show, became one of Kickstarter's earliest success stories with a $5,408,916 campaign to make a "virtual field trip" app for smartphones and tablets. In 2016, host LeVar Burton launched a new "Skybrary" service to better integrate with school campaigns.
A board game based on "Dark Souls," a popular and fiendishly difficult fantasy-action game, raised £3,771,474, approximately $5,376,000 in US dollars. It's slated to launch in early 2017.
"Bloodstained," a stylish new game from legendary "Castlevania" designer Koji Igarashi, garnered $5,545,991. It's expected to release in early 2017.
The producers of "Veronica Mars," a movie based on a fan-favorite teen-detective TV show, raised $5,702,153 on Kickstarter in 2013. The movie got positive reviews and would go on to gross $3,485,127 worldwide.
Joel Hodgson, the creator of the cult hit "Mystery Science Theater 3000" -- where Hodgson and his crew of robots heckle bad movies -- raised $5,764,229 to fund a new season of the show. It's expected to start airing in early 2017.
Neil Young raised $6,225,354 for the $399 Pono Music player, billed as "the best possible listening experience of your favorite digital music." It wasn't well received: Ars Technica referred to the Pono as "A tall, refreshing drink of snake oil" in a review.
"Shenmue 3," the long-awaited follow-up to a cult-hit Sega fantasy-adventure game series, raised $6,333,295, plus even more from a follow-up campaign run by creator Yu Suzuki himself. It's expected to release on the Sony PlayStation 4 in late 2017.
The Ouya, an Android-based video-game system, raised $8,596,474 on Kickstarter, and then got a $15 million investment round from Kleiner Perkins. The Ouya turned out to be a commercial flop, and the company sold its software assets to Razer in July 2015.
Baubax, manufacturers of "The World's Best Travel Jacket," with 15 distinct built-in features, raised $9,192,055 on Kickstarter in July 2015, and then another $2 million or so on Indiegogo in September 2015. The jacket is expected to start shipping this month.
"Exploding Kittens," a party card game cocreated by internet cartoonist Matthew Inman, better known as "The Oatmeal," raised $8,782,571 in early 2015. At the time, it was the fastest-funded Kickstarter of all time. In 2016, smartphone versions of the game were released.
The original Pebble smartwatch, offering an e-ink-based screen that gets long battery life, raised $10,266,845 in 2012, and started shipping in 2013. It was the first product of what's now a prominent gadget manufacturer.
The "Coolest Cooler," pitched as a project to make a "21st century cooler that's actually cooler," is a "portable party disguised as a cooler," with a built-in Bluetooth speaker, an optional blender add-on, and space to tuck away plates and other picnic goodies. It raised $13,285,226 ...
... but the Coolest Cooler still hasn't rolled out to every Kickstarter backer, thanks to a whole mess. In April 2016, Cooler offered backers the ability to spend an extra $97 to bump themselves to the front of the line. Enough people took that option that production on the Coolest Cooler is back on track.
The Pebble Time smartwatch holds the all-time Kickstarter record, with $20,338,986 raised. Since it launched in May 2015, it's provided a solid, well-reviewed alternative to the Apple Watch.
In case you weren't sick of Pebble yet: The smartwatch company is currently running its third Kickstarter for a trio of new products, including the Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2, and the new Pebble Core fitness gadget.
At the time of writing, Pebble is looking at $10,777,372, making it the third-highest-funded Kickstarter of all time. With 19 days remaining, Pebble may be the undisputed ruler of the fundraising platform.
This story first appeared on Business Insider.