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11 Cool Crowdfunded Products

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Up until very recently, participants in a crowdfunding project would receive rewards as thank-you’s for their donations. They might get a T-shirt, a special service from the developer like writing code, or an opportunity to preorder the product. They would not, however, get a stake in the company.

That began to change after the passage of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS) Act in April 2012. Under Title II of the act, accredited investors with a minimum $1 million in net worth or income above $200,000 for the previous three years could contribute to a company in exchange for a stake, beginning in late September 2013.

Then in June 2015, Title IV of the act, also known as Regulation A+, took effect, allowing nonqualified investors to get a stake in crowdfunded projects so long as they didn’t invest more than 10% of their income or net worth per year. Companies could raise up to $20 million under Tier I following review by state regulators or up to $50 million under Tier II, after a review by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

If you’re wondering what happened to Title III, it’s coming. But first the SEC has to set final rules, and then an online funding platform has to be created that will be subject to regulation. Title III will allow entrepreneurs to raise up to $1 million in seed money from investors who contribute as little as a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, according to Doug Ellenoff, a corporate and securities attorney at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole LLP, who expects the SEC will act this month.

Given these expectations, ThinkAdvisor thought it a good idea to showcase some nifty products that were created as a result of crowdfunding campaigns and are now available for purchase plus a couple of planned products that are being financed under Title IV, or Regulation A+, of the JOBS Act, but not yet available for purchase. Take a look:

These next two devices are Lost Item Trackers. These small tags can be attached to your keychain, purse, bicycle — even your dog. They help you locate lost items or living creatures using GPS networks linked to your smartphones or computers.

Bravo Tracker

1. Bravo Tracker

Funds raised: $1,683,627

Investors: 24,624

Retail price: $29

TinTag

2. TinTag (rechargeable tracker)

Funds raised: $102,006

Investors: 2,212

Retail price: $29

Pet Cube

3. Pet Cube. This camera in a cube that pets can play with or just observe lets pet owners watch and talk to their pets from remote locations via links to smartphones. The product was funded on Kickstarter and, according to its website “became one of the most successful crowdfunding pet products in history.”

Funds raised: $251,225

Investors: 1,758

Price: $199

V4 Pogo Stick

4. V4 Pogo Stick. The air-powered V4 is not just for fun but also for a full-body exercise that works lower back, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, triceps — basically all the muscles from the waist down, according to Indiegogo, the crowdfunding website. Its design includes shock absorbers and a grip tip that can soften the impact of a an 8-foot maximum bounce.

Funds raised: $99,912

337% funded

Price: $390

Half-Bike

5. Half-Bike. It looks like a cross between a skateboard and traditional bicycle, with a big wheel in front and two training-like wheels in the back, with the rider standing. The Bulgarian-based architect duo who designed the half-bike call it a “new kind of personal vehicle” that trains balance and reflexes while providing a mode of transportation close to walking.

Funds raised: $973,764

Investors: 2,416

Price: $349

Poppy 

6. Poppy.  The poppy does what the View-Master does to pictures. It converts ordinary pictures into 3-D, but only those from an iPhone. Once the Poppy app is downloaded into an iPhone, the phone is inserted into the poppy, the back of the device is flipped around, and through mirrors, the image is converted into 3-D.

Funds raised: $190,020

Investors: 2,924

Price: $49

Toymail

7. Toymail. This is another interactive device that uses a free app downloaded to a smartphone. The web site calls it “free voice messaging for kids” and it sounds like a kid talking. A parent or grandparent using the app talks into the phone and the toy, which looks like a small mailbox with a face that suggests a pig, bear or fox, snorts, wheezes or whines, alerting the child that a message has arrived. When the child plays the message it sounds like a kid talking. He or she can then message back, in the kid’s voice.

Funds raised: $83,341 (Note: Amazon also invested as part of its Alexa Fund)

Investors: 1,119

Price: $59.99

Balloon Mapping Kit

8. Balloon Mapping Kit. Unlike other crowdfunded products, this one was created as part of a nonprofit collaborative effort. The project’s goal: to map the BP oil spill with kites and balloons by attaching a camera and sharing the photos. That led to the founding of Public Lab and its balloon mapping kit, which includes a Chloroprene balloon that can retain helium, a hoop winder, gloves and a few other items and instructions on how to connect a cheap digital camera in order to shoot aerial photos.

Funds raised: $34,646

Investors: 463

Ostrich Pillow 

9. Ostrich Pillow. This product is good for a laugh and, according to its creators, a much-needed nap wherever you might be. It’s “designed to allow you to create a little private space within a public one, to relax and unwind,” according to its creators at StudioBanana Things. That assumes you won’t hear the chuckles of those around you. In that case you may want to try Ostrich Pillow Light (which is about half the price and half the laughs).

Funds raised: $195,094

Investors: 1,846

Price: $99

The next two products are being funded under Regulation A+, or Title IV, of the JOBS Act, raising capital through StartEngine Crowdfunding. Funders receive what’s called “reserved shares” in exchange for their contributions.

Dogland

10. Dogland is a social app for dog lovers to view and share dog photos, message local dog owners, locate dog-friendly places and share information about pet services, vets, animal shelters and more. The app, created by BetterPet Inc., currently has a user base of 65,000, with a 30-day retention of almost 48%, and the average user visits the site four times a week.

Dogland hopes to expand its reach — and profits — through a Title IV crowdfunding round that can help finance an expansion with new video features. According to its page at StartEngine, the potential market is huge: Americans own 83 million dogs and spend more than $60 billion on their pets every year. 

Elio Motors

11. Elio Motors plans on producing the Elio vehicle, a two-seat, three-wheeled fuel-efficient aerodynamic car that it says will travel 84 miles on a gallon of gas and cost $6,800. Company founder and CEO Paul Elio is an engineer who holds various patents, was a founding partner of ESG Engineering and graduate of the General Motors Institute.

Funding Goal: $25 million

Nonbinding indications of interest: $39,266,209

Reservations: 10,468

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