Ok, so crowdfunding isn’t always the best thing. It’s been responsible for such unnecessary ideas as socks made of coffee, cologne that smells of whiskey or vodka (for people who want everyone to think they’re an alcoholic apparently) and bow ties made of wood. And sometimes they’re just straight-up hair-brained, like the guy who had a go at crowdfunding Greece’s national debt a while ago. Points for effort and initiative, but perhaps that was a little on the ambitious side. But now and then, a crowdfunding project comes along that helps some genuinely cool, interesting and worthwhile projects get off the ground. Here are the best of them.

The Coolest Cooler

This one goes down in history as one of the most successful crowdfunding projects of all time. It raised $13m on a target of $75,000. A simple premise, a cooler that is also a speaker and can power a blender for cocktails. It’s easy to see why this project was so successful. Like all really successful inventions, it’s a simple idea but one that doesn’t actually exist yet – everything you need for a great party in one easy portable package. Add to that great-looking design and you’re onto a crowdfunding winner. Listing here

Micro 3D Printer

This project made 3D printing a possibility for all people, from their own home and at a low cost. Providing a wealth of opportunity for designers, and a fun gadget for everybody else the project raised over $3m. The resulting 3D printers were priced at only $299. Listing here


As headphone systems seem to be getting bigger and bulkier all the time (looking at you Beats), the Earin headphones went entirely the other way. These completely wireless headphones fit entirely inside the ear but still produce a crystal clear sound. Such a simple idea it seems crazy it hadn’t been done before. Listing here

Zano Drone

Zano Drone made drone technology affordable for the masses, opening up new avenues of possibility to photographers and film-makers. The tiny drone fits in the palm of your hand and is equipped with an HD camera. What’s even cooler is it’s controled via a smart phone app. The project raised over $2m when it first launched, but the team behind it promised to keep advancing and adapting the drone as new tech becomes available. Listing here

Sense Sleep System

This is a seriously sci-fi idea, but thanks to crowdfunding it became a reality. The Sense Sleep System is a space-age looking glowing orb that is placed in your bedroom. It then monitors the temperature, light and sound conditions in the room through the night. An additional sensor placed on the sleeper’s pillow monitors their movements and breathing to assess their quality and type of sleep very accurately. The information is then sent to a mobile app and stored so the user can monitor, assess, and ultimately improve the quality of sleep they’re getting. Plenty of people thought this was a great idea and the project raised over $2m. Listing here