Webcomic artist Matthew Inman is known for his wicked and funny takes on modern life as The Oatmeal. But the Seattle resident made another mark in the tech world this year, by tapping into the power of crowdfunding to make a big impact — not once but twice.
Inman raised more than $1.5 million for charities and nonprofits through two separate initiatives — the first in response to a legal threat against him, and the second to help fund a museum to honor Nikola Tesla.
We’re pleased to name Inman to our list of GeekWire Newsmakers of the Year for 2012. He is one of two people on the list who demonstrate the rise of crowdfunding — the other being Jordan Weisman, whose company raised more than $1.8 million on Kickstarter to revive the classic Shadowrun game franchise.
Inman responded to a threat of litigation earlier this year by launching a campaign to raise $20,000 for charity and drawing a picture of the threatening lawyer’s mother getting friendly with a bear. Ultimately he raised more than 10 times that amount for the National Wildlife Foundation and the American Cancer Society and sent the lawyer a picture of the money in the shape of a giant “FU.”
Separately, Inman threw his weight behind an initiative to save the former lab of Nikola Tesla — “the greatest geek who ever lived,” as he put it in one of his Oatmeal cartoons. The “Let’s Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum” campaign raised more than $1.3 million.
We’re spotlighting all of our 2012 Newsmakers on GeekWire this month, leading up to the GeekWire Gala on Dec. 6 at McCaw Hall in Seattle. Many of the newsmakers from the list will be joining us and the rest of the tech community on that night to mark a remarkable year of news. Tickets available here.