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kickstarter1billionCrowdfunding website Kickstarter today announced that it has passed $1 billion in pledges since launching in April 2009, with more than half of that billion coming in the last year alone.

Poppy co-founders Joe Heitzeberg and Ethan Lowry at CES back in January.
Poppy co-founders Joe Heitzeberg and Ethan Lowry at CES back in January.

For the past four years, 5.7 million people from 224 countries and territories have donated money to a Kickstarter campaign, allowing thousands upon thousands of entrepreneurs to turn their dreams and ideas into reality.

Several of those inventors hail from the Northwest. More recently, three highly-successful Seattle-based Kickstarter campaigns come to mind: Poppy, Moment, and Robot Turtles.

Poppy, a 3D imaging device that can turn your iPhone into a 3D camera, was created by Seattle entrepreneurs Joe Heitzeberg and Ethan Lowry (UrbanSpoon co-founder) this past summer. Their Kickstarter campaign raised nearly 500 percent of its goal and things have been rolling for the pair ever since. Poppy launched online sales back in January and is talking with retailers about potential deals to distribute the device to a much wider audience.

Heitzeberg and Lowry’s Kickstarter success was one of the more inspiring and fun entrepreneurial stories we came across during our CES trip in Las Vegas two months ago: Two scrappy startup veterans, staying in a low-budget hotel, winning attention and national press coverage amidst a sea of tech giants and their multi-million dollar marketing budgets.

Marc Barros at the Moment studio in Pioneer Square.
Marc Barros at the Moment studio in Pioneer Square.

“At this stage it’s not really about making money as much as building a fan base — the early seed of a community — and then trying not to lose money,” Heitzeberg told us in January.

Moment, meanwhile, is a new startup building a set of photographic lenses that attach seamlessly to the iPhone and Galaxy Nexus. The lenses were created by Marc Barros, who previously co-founded the helmet-mounted video camera maker Contour.

Barros originally set a $50,000 goal for his new startup and ended up pulling in $451,868 from more than 4,700 backers.

“We are blown away by the results,” Barros said. “We had no idea what to expect when we launched Moment on Kickstarter and to end up being one of the most popular products on the platform ever, is just crazy. We are honored that so many chose to start this journey with us.”

Then there’s Seattle entrepreneur Dan Shapiro, who obliterated his $25,000 funding goal and ended up scoring $631,230 from 13,765 for his Robot Turtles board game that teaches kids the basics of programming. After his uber-successful campaign, Shapiro offered up his top 3 tips for anyone looking at funding their own project through a site such as Kickstarter.

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