Just five short years ago, crowdfunding site Indiegogo was barely a blip on the CES radar with just two startups represented. That is no longer the case: In a Thursday interview with Digital Trends on the show floor, founder Slava Rubin said the company is now representing more than 200 companies — with some former Indiegogo projects now legitimate exhibitors at the show.
The massive increase in Indiegogo’s influence on consumer tech is also pushing the company to look outside the traditional crowdfunding model that Rubin’s site helped pioneer. Indiegogo now provides a full-service product for its projects to take advantage of, which after the crowdfunding effort can span the manufacturing, commerce, pre-order, and even the distribution process.
Another project? Equity crowdfunding, which allows backers to actually make money off their pledges. Based on the amount you pledge you’re actually investing in the company and if it takes off, you could end up making your money back and then some.
While Indiegogo was set up to do this from the start, Rubin said that regulatory issues prevented the site from actually launching it any earlier. Those issues have now passed and after launching equity crowdfunding in 2016, nearly $1 million in investment has been made, he says.
Along with his brief rundown of Indiegogo’s successes, Rubin also showed off three of the more than 200 companies the site is working with at CES 2017. The first is Roar, which is working on a handheld siren aimed at women who might be concerned about violence called Athena.
When the button is pressed, a 90-decibel siren goes off and a message is transmitted to a companion app which notifies emergency contacts. When the threat is over, you can mark yourself as safe which, again, alerts your emergency contacts. But possibly the best part of this project is what Roar plans to do with a portion of the profits from Athena. Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Anthony Gold says a portion of its profits are being invested in programs to limit violence against women.
Two other projects were shown off — one a pet device called Playdate, which is a ball with a live-streaming camera inside that allows you to interact with your pet remotely and Modobag, which we can most easily describe as a suitcase you can ride (which is also, by the way, legal to use in airports — the company has made sure of that).
All the devices are available for pre-order; the Roar is $99, while the Playdate is $189. Both will ship in the early part of 2017. The Modobag is $1,095 by pre-order — if you wait until retail availability, the price goes up to $1,495.