2 of 6
Sam Putman wields MakerBeam's hardware

Berkeley, Calif.
Crowdfunding through Kickstarter.com
Amount raised: $17,922
Date launched: August 2009

Sam Putnam and his partners started raising cash just three weeks after coming up with the idea for MakerBeam, an Erector set-like building system that can be used to build robots and other precise machines. They didn't approach investors or banks: Traditional funding would have been complicated because MakerBeam planned to give away the intellectual property for all of its designs.

Instead, the founders turned to Kickstarter, which connects creative projects with an audience willing to pledge money to the ideas. Creators offer donors prizes and incentives, and give Kickstarter 5% of the money raised if the projects are successfully funded.

MakerBeam's promised perks ranged from behind-the-scenes access to the project's development for $1 backers to beams, connectors and institutional sponsorship credit in return for pledges of $1,024 or more.

Pledges came from individuals, businesses and even a few universities. By October they totaled almost $18,000 -- way beyond the company's $10,000 goal. "Good rewards and a good idea are probably the main things we think played into the enthusiasm and success," Putnam says.

MakerBeam is now delivering beams and connectors from its beta production run and is thinking about its next round of funding. The company, still comprising a team of three, is considering going back to Kickstarter for that, Putnam says.

NEXT: Boutique Larrieux

Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
LAST UPDATE: Mar 24 2010 | 5:16 PM ET
More Galleries
Commuting is getting easier. Here's why The MobiPrize, conducted by SMART at the University of Michigan, recognizes innovation in global transportation. From microcars to auto rickshaws, these six startups are some of the standouts. More
A sampling of beers being made with traditional Latin flavors A small but growing number of craft breweries are including passion fruit, Mexican cinnamon and other traditional Latin flavors. More
Banks won't lend? Use these guys instead Banks often have exhaustive approval processes, high minimums, and flawless credit requirements. But there's a wealth of non-bank alternatives for those who need capital fast. Here are some of the leaders. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.