Crowdfunding, in general, is a tough game. According to Kickstarter's stats, only a third of all projects launched reach their funding goal. Out of those successful campaigns, only 3% raise over $100k and only a measly 0.2% raise over $1M. When you add in the intricacy of promoting a niche campaign like neck and back pain relief products, the level of difficulty skyrockets. Running a successful campaign requires a great product at a great price, a willingness to give up sleep for an extended period of time, a healthy dose of marketing/advertising savvy and a little bit of witchcraft-like luck. Or just having a huge built-in following like Neil Young did. For everyone other than Neil, researching past Kickstarter campaigns is a critical part of the formula for success.
As we prepare for our Kickstarter campaign here at Backmate, I have been researching hundreds of projects. From that research, I have compiled a list of the top 10 highest earning campaigns for neck and back pain and am publishing the list here for your reading enjoyment. Admittedly, it's a bit subjective as to what is or isn't a neck and back pain relief product. However, this is my best attempt at categorizing the projects I've found. Please feel free to let me know in the comments if you feel like I missed anything.
If you missed any of these Kickstarter campaigns, but still want in on the action, check out their Kickstarter page for instructions. Most of these products are in pre-order through their website - which means you can probably still grab one for a great deal!
The original BetterBack posture trainer earned $1,193,776 with 16,459 backers. Raising over $1M puts them in an elite group of projects that is comprised of only 279 other campaigns. Put another way, they raised more than 99.8% off all other successful Kickstarter projects ever. Impressive.
Since the original campaign, BetterBack has launched two more campaigns for a version with heat and cold therapy raising $1,021,481 and backpack support straps (still on-going). I met with the founder of BetterBack, Katherine Krug, right after her second campaign wrapped and asked her what it takes to run such a successful campaign - as you might guess, she said there is no silver bullet, it just takes a great product and lot of hard work.
There have been several Kickstarter campaigns for posture tracker wearables, but with it's simplicity of design and beautiful smartphone app, the Upright GO has earned more than any of the others with $1,118,468 in pledges from 13,350 backers.
The team at Upright GO has put in a lot of great work since their Kickstarter campaign, beating out all the competition and landing themselves a coveted place on the shelves of Apple retail stores.
The Neck Hammock does not need much of an introduction. The product name and image above pretty much tell you all you need to know. A well designed product, and great marketing (the imagery of very attractive women doesn't hurt) landed them a podium spot on this list with $901,058 of pledges from 12,354 backers. I backed this campaign and received my neck hammock right on time - a huge accomplishment for the team considering the breakout success of this project and the fact that the majority of Kickstarter campaigns don't deliver on time.
As with most of the products on this list, The Ergo is simple - essentially, it's a strap that fits around your shoulders and pulls them back. However, one of the best compliments any product can receive is "why didn't anyone think of this before?". The Kickstarter community gave them a big compliment when 6,653 backers pledged $767,193 to bring this project to life.
The creators of the C Rest are no strangers to controversy with their first three campaigns (here, here and here) being cancelled by Kickstarter for not paying attention to the platform's terms and conditions. I'll spare you the details but you can read about the nitty-gritty here on Reddit if you are interested. (Spoiler alert) their first few projects were not new products, rather just products they sourced on Alibaba. However, you can't argue with success - when they did get it right, they raised $573,269 from 6,784 backers.
The necksaviour Mini is an innovative product for simple decompression therapy for your neck. Decompression is a proven way to alleviate pain caused by issues in your vertebral disks. Research has shown spinal decompression therapy to be 80% effective in treating disk injuries, no matter how badly the disc is damaged. Compared to a success rate of 50% for spinal surgery, this is ground breaking, and definitely something worth trying if you struggle with neck pain. There is a great article by Dr. Marc A Dupuis, here, that explains decompression therapy in depth. I don't know how effective the necksaviour Mini is at providing decompression to your neck, but if it works, it's a great way to access this powerful therapy at home. The Kickstarter community sees something in the product with a healthy backing of $340,880 in pledges from 6440 supporters.
We can all share horror stories of falling asleep on a plane in economy class and waking up with broken neck. The Ostrich Pillow Go isn't the first product that attempts to solve this problem; however, it does so with a beautiful and well thought out design. The magnetic closure and memory foam are great ideas and this is the first plane pillow that isn't horribly ugly - I could see myself lugging this through the airport without being ashamed of my decisions. A solid campaign with $324,772 of pledges from 4,531 backers brings this project to life.
The Dtrac V2 is another product that attempts to bring decompression therapy to your home with a simple device. I wrote about the huge benefits of decompression above. I'm not sure that arching your back over a ramp, like the Dtrac, can provide real decompression, and a retail price of $300 seems expensive for this product, in my opinion. However, Kickstarter gave them a vote of confidence with $265,233 from 1,474 backers. This was their second campaign for this product. The first campaign raised $96,455 about a year before the campaign for the "V2".
Massaging your back is a tough thing to do by yourself. You can't roll it out with a traditional foam roller because it is tough to support yourself while relaxing your back muscles and the roller just doesn't fit around your spine well. The Back Rac is an innovative solution to this problem. Using it on the ground is probably too intense for most people and the wall has it's issues too, but this product is the closest thing I've seen to an effective self-massage for your back. They raised $156,159 from 1,419 Kickstarter backers.