The Pebble Time Kickstarter gained some momentum thanks to Apple’s special Watch event Monday. The new smartwatch from the smartwatch pioneer was drawing in funding at a rate of around $6,000 per hour on Sunday, March 8, which rose to $10,000 per hour on Monday, March 9 (when the event took place), and capped out at $16,000 per day on average during March 10, the day following Apple’s press presentation.
Pebble CEO and founder Eric Migicovsky told former Y Combinator lead and investor Paul Graham that interest in Apple’s media event had a doubling impact on the rate of its ongoing crowdfunding campaign, but in fact the numbers reveal it more than doubled, and in fact almost tripled in the extended wake of the announcement.
The Pebble Time and Pebble Time Steel hardware refreshes were announced around two weeks prior to the Apple event in San Francisco, and the new Kickstarter campaign quickly rose to become the most-funded of all time. Currently, the campaign has racked up over $18 million in funding from over 71,000 backers, and there are still just under two weeks remaining in the campaign.
A renewed spike in interest following Apple’s big announcement is no surprise – Apple has done more than any existing wearable company to raise the profile of wrist-based computing, and it was bound to help existing companies gain more notoriety in the public sphere. Pebble also benefits from catering to cross-platform device users, since it works with both Android and iPhone, so people just becoming interested in smartwatches might naturally be drawn to its campaign if they aren’t primarily an iPhone user. It was a bump Pebble definitely saw coming, too.
“Apple’s event this week caused a nice spike in support for us, as anticipated,” Migicovsky told TechCrunch. “When the biggest company in the world enters your market, that’s the kind of validation you can only dream of. Ultimately the more awareness for smartwatches, and the more choice for consumers, the better for everyone. 2015 is going to be an extraordinarily exciting year.”
In the short term, Apple’s entry will definitely be a general boon to the wearable industry as a whole, but it’s unclear yet just how things will shake out for competing devices in the long run. Apple will stop selling some competing health-specific wearables in store, for instance, which is a blow to market awareness of those devices, but Pebble has the benefit of having a very dedicated audience with perhaps a more geeky bent than Apple’s ideal target market.