Boston area projects rake in $28M through Kickstarter

boston kickstarter cambridge brattle theatre
Brattle Theatre Creative Director Ned Hinkle shows the cinema’s new digital projector, funded through a Kickstarter campaign.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

Maxwell Bogue was prepared for the best, but also for the worst: that his project, the development of a 3-D printing pen, wouldn’t get enough public support to get it off the ground. 

But within two days of posting the project on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter, Bogue’s 3Doodler pen received $1 million in pledges. Eventually, 26,000 people pledged more than $2.3 million in 34 days.

“We were jumping up and down and at same time we have to make all of these units. Before the Kickstarter had finished we had already called the factory to tell them the order had to be significantly larger than we had negotiated,” said Bogue whose company WobbleWorks is based in Boston.

Bogue’s project is one of thousands of Boston-area efforts that has raised millions through Kickstarter. Kickstarter announced earlier this month that more than $1 billion was pledged to various projects through its website, which launched in April 2009. Of that total, nearly $28 million was pledged by people to fund projects in the Boston area.

The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge launched an effort last year to fund the nonprofit’s acquisition of a digital projector as well as a new heating and cooling system as its current one was about to fail. It wrote on its Kickstarter page that it was “depending on the kindness of strangers (and loved ones).”

“If we had no AC in the summer and no heat in the winter it would have been the end. It would have been really damaging,” said Ned Hinkle, the theatre’s creative director. The $140,000 goal was surpassed.

When popular food truck Mei Mei Street Kitchen wanted to open a restaurant, the founders turned to Kickstarter to help fund their quest to receive sustainable certification. The restaurant’s 24-day drive last June netted $36,000, about $8,000 above their goal.

Margaret Li, a Mei Mei cofounder, said the owners turned to Kickster because “opening a restaurant is shockingly expensive.” They used the funds to buy things like low-flow toilets, start a composting program and purchase materials to repurpose in their restaurant including joists from an old paper mill that now serve as countertops.

Li said the restaurant, which opened in November, received its sustainable certification. The restaurant also features a design that includes the names of the people who donated to the project.

“What Kickstarter is really wonderful for is creating a sense of community and allowing people to buy in and feel a part of the item or business that’s being developed,” she said.

While many Boston-area Kickstarter projects have wrapped up their fund-raising efforts, there are others that are still active.

ScratchJr is an educational software that helps young children learn to program their own interactive stories and games. It’s being developed by professors at MIT and Tufts University as well as the Playful Invention Company.

While the project has reached its $25,000 goal, it has 36 days left in its online campaign and will use additional funds to develop a mobile version and create more resources for parents and teachers.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.


Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.


Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…


OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…


MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.


Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."


'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.


'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."


TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.


Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.


Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.


Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.


Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…


NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.


The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.