In the early days, crowdfunding was perceived as a threat to the traditional venture capital model of funding startups. But time has shown that crowdfunding sites can be more helpful than harmful: In fact, they've become a must-have resource for venture capitalists scouting for new hardware companies. And when VCs want to find the best of the best, they flock to Kickstarter. 

That's according to CB Insights, whose latest report released Monday pored over research from Matthew Witheiler of Flybridge Capital Partners and analyzed 443 hardware projects that raised over $100,000 on Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Using the data, CB Insights determined just how many of those companies raised capital inside and outside of the VC industrial complex. Here are some other notable highlights: 

Venture Funding Is Booming for Crowdfunders

According to CB Insights, venture capital for crowdfunded hardware projects went mainstream in 2013, reaching over $200 million across 23 deals. The fourth quarter of last year was especially notable, when 10 startups including Scanadu, Formlabs, and Misfit Wearables raised over $150 million in aggregate funding. Oculus VR raised a $75 million Series B in December from Andreessen Horowitz, then was acquired a couple months later for $2 billion by Facebook. Not a bad windfall for a 21-year-old. 

Indiegogo Pales in Comparison to Kickstarter 

Kickstarter may have less funding of its own ($10 million), compared to Indiegogo ($56 million), but of the 443 hardware campaigns that raised over $100,000, Kickstarter "clearly dominated as the platform of choice," said CB Insights. "Of note, 82 percent of the crowdfunded hardware projects on the list were Kickstarter-backed." Meanwhile, of the 42 venture-backed hardware companies, 35 launched on Kickstarter, while a mere seven launched on Indiegogo. Perhaps it's no surprise, then, that Kickstarter-backed hardware projects have raised over $268 million in venture capital to date--far more than the $52 million invested in Indiegogo hardware projects. 

Best State for Crowdfunded Hardware: California 

Most (79 percent) of the investor-backed crowdfunded hardware startups are based in the U.S., said CB Insights, and of those, 52 percent call California home. That includes Pebble, the Kickstarter darling that initially left backers hanging, LUMO BodyTech, and Romotive. Massachusetts and New York are other hubs for hardware action, while internationally crowdfunded startups are as far-flung as Sweden (Narrative), Singapore (Pirate 3DP), and Australia (Ninja Blocks). 

Published on: Aug 12, 2014