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.
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."
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.