The Pebble smartwatch, a shining example of ingenuity being supported by crowdfunding, has held the record for highest-funded Kickstarter campaign for over two years now, not even being surpassed by cult hits like Veronica Mars. But finally, on Tuesday, the title was taken by another project: a cooler — like, the thing you bring your drinks to the beach in. Called the Coolest (okay, it's a pretty good name), it's now raised over $10.3 million with a few days to go, bringing it just above Pebble's $10.2 million.
A blender, USB ports, and a speaker are built into the cooler
The reason people are so hot for this cooler is that it builds in a number of nerdy accessories and some seriously convenient as-seen-on-TV kind of features. As far as the tech goes, the Coolest includes a Bluetooth speaker that can fit right into a compartment on the cooler for storage or be detached for listening. It also has USB charging ports for keeping your phone going. Then it has just a ton of other things built in: lights for the inside, a compartment divider that doubles as a cutting board, a bottle opener, storage for plates, and a functioning blender for making drinks — which may well be the real selling point here.
The Coolest will sell for $299 when it's finally on sale, but it's available to Kickstarter backers for $185. They won't get it until next February, though, so don't plan on tearing up the beach with this thing until summer 2015. Its campaign ends on Friday night, so there's still time for its record to rise even higher. It's already well, well beyond its goal, though: it was only looking for $50,000.
That a cooler took Pebble's title away is somewhat surprising, but perhaps it shouldn't be. For a long time, the highest funded Kickstarter campaigns were all tech related: the Ouya game console and the Pono music player are the next two most-successful campaigns. But Kickstarter has long since entered the domain of pop culture, and the equally runaway success of projects like Reading Rainbow and Zach Braff's latest movie speak to that. The Coolest cooler has broad appeal and some simple, but useful, tech integrations — and that may just be why it's found a big audience of buyers.