Launching a product and then waiting for customers to buy it is so last century. These days, aspiring entrepreneurs and visionary tinkerers secure demand for their ideas before manufacturing a single part, using platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
The Pebble watch craze of 2012 was one of the first “pre-tailing” successes to enter the public consciousness, amassing a whopping 10,266% of its funding goal for a total of more than $10 million in just 37 days. But building up a huge, expectant customer base before you’ve mass-tested your manufacturing process has its drawbacks—a glitch with the glue and other problems delayed Pebble shipments by several months.
Here are some projects that successfully pre-tailed—and a couple that failed.