Pebble launches new line of smartwatches

The Pebble Smartwatch was designed based on a concept by Eric Migicovsky describing a watch that could display messages from a smartphone and select Android devices.

The Pebble Smartwatch, often known now as the Pebble Classic, is an American smartwatch developed by Pebble Technology Corporation, and is the first generation of the Pebble watch lineup. The smartwatch was pledged from a Kickstarter campaign, proving massively successful, collecting around $10 million for development of the smartwatch.
Pebble connects to both Android and iOS phones, so they can display notifications from the phone, and an online app store makes the Pebble compatible with apps tailored for them from many third party sellers. In 2015, Pebble Technology released its second-generation Time, with a color display, microphone, and updated design.

This was the most money raised for any product on the site at that time. A phenomenal feat for a hardware startup.

Pebble Technology Corporation raised $10.3 million through a Kickstarter campaign running from April 11, 2012, through May 18, 2012; this was the most money raised for any product on the site at that time. Best Buy, an American consumer electronics corporation, began selling Pebble smartwatches in July 2013, and sold out within five days. On December 31, 2014, Pebble sold its one millionth smartwatch. In 2015, Pebble launched the Pebble Time and Time Steel with Kickstarter, raising $20,338,986 from over 75,000 backers, breaking records for both on the site.

A few views of the upcoming Pebble Time 2.

A few views of the upcoming Pebble Time 2.

Development

The Pebble Smartwatch was designed based on a concept by Eric Migicovsky describing a watch that could display messages from a smartphone and select Android devices. Migicovsky successfully took his idea through the Y Combinator business incubator program, and unusually for a startup company at Y Combinator, Migicovsky’s business actually generated revenue during the program. Migicovsky was able to raise US$375,000 from angel investors such as Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, but was unable to raise additional funds. Discussing his inability to raise further funds, Migicovsky told the Los Angeles Times, “I wasn’t extremely surprised… hardware is much harder to raise money for. We were hoping we could convince some people to our vision, but it didn’t work out.”

Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2, and Pebble Core.

Pebble 2, Pebble Time 2, and Pebble Core.

Funding

After raising venture capital for the product under their former name Allerta (which had already developed and sold the inPulse smartwatch for BlackBerry devices), the company failed to attract traditional investors under their new Pebble brand name, so the company requested crowd funding in April 2012.

Production

Within six days, the project had become the most funded project in the history of Kickstarter Migicovsky’s company Pebble Technology launched a Kickstarter campaign on April 11, 2012, with an initial fundraising target of $100,000. Backers spending $115 would receive a Pebble when they became available ($99 for the first 200), effectively pre-ordering the $150 Pebble at a discounted price. Within two hours of going live, the project had met the $100,000 goal, and within six days, the project had become the most funded project in the history of Kickstarter to that point, raising over $4.7 million with 30 days left in the campaign. On May 10, 2012, Pebble Technology announced they were limiting the number of pre-orders. On May 18, 2012, funding closed with $10,266,844 pledged by 68,928 people.

Posted by Simon Carley

Professor Simon Carley MB ChB, PGDip, DipIMC (RCS Ed), FRCS (Ed)(1998), FHEA, FAcadMed, FRCEM, MPhil, MD, PhD is Creator, Webmaster, owner and Editor in Chief of the St Emlyn’s blog and podcast. He is Professor of Emergency Medicine at Manchester Metropolitan University and a Consultant in adult and paediatric Emergency Medicine at Manchester Foundation Trust. He is co-founder of BestBets, St.Emlyns and the MSc in emergency medicine at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is an Education Associate with the General Medical Council and is an Associate Editor for the Emergency Medicine Journal. His research interests include diagnostics, MedEd, Major incidents & Evidence based Emergency Medicine. He is verified on twitter as @EMManchester

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