Securing venture funding for tech startups has never been easy in San Diego, especially after the great recession came to town in 2008. But in recent years, crowdfunding has opened a new outlet for technology innovation in San Diego and other regional hubs. (Our list of San Diego’s 10 top-funded tech projects on Kickstarter is below.)
When Daniel Lee, Daniel Chesong Lee, and Daniel Synn launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter last November, they hoped to raise $100,000 to help them produce Hush, noise-masking “smart earplugs” they had developed over the previous year. They met their $100,000 goal in five days. When their Kickstarter campaign ended in December, Hush backers had committed a total of $593,255—and validated an idea that originated in an undergrad class for entrepreneurial-minded engineers at UC San Diego.
As a recent college grad, however, CEO Daniel Lee said he didn’t have the necessary credentials to raise funding from VCs. Lee was able to raise about $150,000 from angel investors in San Diego, but he says crowdfunding was really his only option for raising enough capital to actually begin producing Hush earbuds.
As for the crowdfunding experience, Lee said, “We were pleasantly surprised by the press coverage we got, just by virtue of getting funded on Kickstarter.”