$13 million man: Coolest Cooler marks a turning point in Kickstarter history

It kind of struck me when I heard someone talking about it on the radio, this morning. And the DJ didn’t really even mention Portland. And he had to explain what Kickstarter was. But he was highlighting how a project had just surpassed the all-time funding record for Kickstarter. And that it was a cooler. Not any cooler mind you. The Coolest Cooler.

And that’s when it dawned on me. That Kickstarter just really, truly, finally tipped. Thanks to Ryan. And his project. Kickstarter—like it or not—is now in the fat of the bell curve. And on a whole bunch more radars.

Now we, in hipster like fashion, can all claim that we’ve all known about Kickstarter for years. Whether it was acknowledging that the former CTO of Kickstarter lived in Portland. Or watching in awe as the first project—a Portland project called the Elevation Dock—topped $1 million in earnings. Or seeing an e-paper watch that reads your texts break $10 million. Or voyeuristically marveling as Internet types piled on to projects like potato salad.

To date, Kickstarter has been the realm of geeky things and fringe elements. Quirky. And edgy in their own ways. And those have been the heroes.

Even Hollywood using Kickstarter to fund a film didn’t have this kind of impact. Because it was a cult classic. And fringy.

Today, that all changed.

For as geeky as the Coolest Cooler is and as much as I love that it is from Portland—when it comes right down to it—it’s a very approachable product. It’s a very intelligible and understandable product. And it’s something that appeals to the masses more than the fringe.

This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just interesting. And timely. And local. And much like when Casey managed to break the $1 million barrier, I’m super happy to see Ryan—and Portland—earn a place in Kickstarter history. That $13 million is nothing to sneeze at. THIRTEEN MILLION DOLLARS. Especially given that he still owns 100% of the company.

But I’m even more interested to see where it goes from here. And interested to see what Portland does next on the platform.

For more information, look to basically any news source. Because we’re all crazily trying to analyze whatever just happened. But if you want to see the original project, visit Coolest Cooler.

  1. Rick,It’s great to see you increasing the visibility to our area’s growing entrepreneurial successes. The manufacturing area is also growing here beyond the traditional apparels and brewing with other amazing KS successes like FINEX (FINEXusa.com) which leverages Portland’s foodie reputation to cast iron cookware. (disclaimer: I’m involved with the company.)
    Keep up the great work in fostering this local forum.

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