How a high-tech cooler toppled Pebble as Kickstarter's most-funded project

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Sorry, Pebble smartwatch. You had a good run, but your reign as the most successful Kickstarter project of all time is over.

There’s a new crowdfunding darling in town. And it is a cooler.

Specifically, it’s the Coolest Cooler developed by Ryan Grepper. It’s brought in more than $10.5 million in pledges as of this writing, well ahead of the $50,000 that Grepper was hoping to raise. And you still have another two days to throw your hard-earned cash in the Coolest Cooler’s general direction.

The Coolest Cooler’s astonishing haul surpasses the $10.2 million that Pebble brought in two years ago when it promised (and delivered) a customizable smartwatch. Still, if you’re looking for crowdfunding success stories, the champion remains the Star Citizen video game, whose ongoing tally of $52 million-plus in pledges makes Coolest Cooler’s take look like the spare change rattling around a beggar’s tin cup.

Read more: The biggest crowdfunded success stories of all time

Still, I’m sure the Coolest Cooler team will be able to cope.

coolest cooler blender

Does your cooler have a built-in rechargeable blender? It does not? Then I submit your cooler is a failure.

What vaulted Coolest Cooler to the upper reaches of Kickstarter’s success stories? (Especially after an earlier version of the project flamed out?) Is it the waterproof Bluetooth speaker that allows you to beam musical accompaniment for your next social get-together? Maybe it’s the LED light built into the lid to help you scrounge for drinks after the sun has set, or the USB charger that can give your mobile gear an emergency boost. Or—and I’m just speculating here—perhaps backers were impressed by the built-in rechargeable blender that promises to provide you with six gallons worth of blended, icy beverages on a single charge.

Honestly, it’s hard to imagine how society functioned prior to the creation of this cooler.

coolest cooler led

Cooler with LED lighting? Cooler with LED lighting.

I’m not sure it’s the high-tech gadgetry that’s made the Coolest Cooler this appealing to Kickstarter backers, though. Those are attention-grabbers, sure, but the real appeal lies in the attention paid to cooler-specific details. There are plates and utensils included with the cooler that easily store in dedicated areas on its lid. The cooler’s wheels are especially wide to handle unforgiving terrain like a sandy beach. A removable divider doubles as a cutting board, and the cooler sports locking tie-downs for strapping on other outdoor gear. Those are the sort of things you want in a cooler—the rest are just bells and whistles.

That said, they’re pretty sensible bells and whistles. If you’re going to go through the trouble of putting in the electronics to power LED lights and a Bluetooth speaker, why not add a blender and a USB port as well? The Coolest Cooler adds enough special features that make sense for this kind of product without throwing in everything but the kitchen sink. (An earlier, failed iteration of the cooler, for example, included a docking grill, which… no.) If there’s a lesson there for would-be Kickstarter projects: Get the basic details of the product right and make sure that any add-ons fit logically with the product’s scope.

And if all else fails, add a blender.

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