Why does this $300 cooler have nearly $7 million in Kickstarter funding? http://www.fastcompany.com/3033441/the-recommender/why-does-this-cooler-have-almost-7-million-in-kickstarter-funding by @rzgreenfield via @FastCompany
Click here to preview the new Fast Company

Want to try out the new FastCompany.com?

If you’d like to return to the previous design, click the yellow button on the lower left corner.


The coolest cooler, Coolest

Why Does This Cooler Have Almost $7 Million In Kickstarter Funding?

Apparently, America has lots of pent-up demand for a battery-powered Inspector Gadget cooler.

The Coolest cooler has $6.8 million in Kickstarter funding with 37 days left to go, as of this writing, putting it on track to surpass the Pebble smartwatch as the most-funded project on the site of all time, ever. According to Kicktraq, Coolest could rake in more than $22 million by the end of its run. Pebble, the smartwatch of crowdfunding lore, snagged over $10 million in funds. It wouldn't seem like such an unreasonable achievement for Coolest, except for the fact that it's essentially a cooler with a battery.

The thousand-plus comments on Coolest's Kickstarter reveal that people are genuinely excited to pay $300 for the cooler of the future, which includes a USB port, a built-in battery-powered blender, and Bluetooth speakers—all the better for louder, more drunken tailgating. Now that Coolest has surpassed its original $50,000 goal, a lot of people are jonesing for a solar panel as a "stretch goal."

As far as the technology goes, Coolest's isn't very revolutionary. It's mostly clever rigging of a battery, and some thoughtful engineering. The icebox includes a bottle opener, for example. Yet, nearly 35,000 people have pledged their money for a product that some suggest will have problems delivering, a common problem for the most popular Kickstarter projects.

The only three explanations that we at Fast Company can think of for why this has gone viral are as follows:

It's Summer

Coolest creator Ryan Grepper launched a similar campaign last winter that failed for what he attributes to seasonal reasons. He has updated the product a bit, and lowered the threshold for success from $125k to $50k. Switching to summer should not be underestimated. The success of Kickstarter campaigns depends on tapping into enthusiasm, according to University of Pennsylvania professor Ethan Mollick. "What Kickstarter does is translate things that are interesting to you into financial action," the marketing professor told NPR. Being cold is not interesting to people in the winter.

People Will Love Skymall

Kickstarter has essentially turned into the Skymall of the Internet. Skymall, in fact, offers a handful of souped-up coolers, such as the folding-chair cooler and the IcyBreeze Portable Air Conditioner/Cooler.

Kickstarter Has Jumped the Shark

Hate to say this, but: Potato salad.

Add New Comment


  • Steven Coulthard

    Dear Rebecca, your completely missing the issue. Most people have 2 or 3 coolers in their garage for many outings, camping, picnics, kids soccer games, etc. This Coolest allows you to get rid of most of them and just have an "All in One", take anywhere cooler. I have been waiting for this for years. It's the "Swiss Army Knife" of coolers, the Swiss Army Knife has been around for decades and still going strong. Never underestimate the attraction and usability of good design and function.

  • Raquel Vincent

    Um, because its awesome?

    The best ideas aren't always the most "revolutionary". The best ideas solve very real problems and bring convenience to consumers. But have fun with your standard Coleman cooler this summer.

  • Patrick Stiles Crofoot

    This is the combination of multiple things worth paying for. USB charger, Bluetooth speaker, portable blender, and a cooler. But the LED lights and ice separator and plates/knife are value added to a basic cooler.

    This is a campers dream. Now if they have a built in plug to charge via DC on the way to camping or recharge while there that will be bonus points.