Wearable tech start-up Pebble enjoyed a successful first year for its smart watch range, shipping 400,000 since January 2013 and earning an estimated US$60m in revenue. Investors are confident of continued success in 2014, despite increasing competition.
For CEO Eric Migicovsky, Pebble started out in 2009 as a school project while at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. The company then joined the Y Combinator programme, one of the world’s top start-up incubators, before it launched a Kickstarter campaign in April 2012.
The crowdfunding campaign was a runaway success, raising 100 times its original target at US$10.3m. Pebble started shipping to its Kickstarter backers in January 2013, followed by public availability in July. It sold out in five days.
Some 400,000 smart watches later – according to figures cited in a Fortune Tech interview with Migicovsky – Pebble is now facing stiffer competition in 2014, the year wearable tech is expected to hit the mainstream.
Sony and Samsung have already cycled through their first few generations of smart watches, and Google’s Android Wear platform now threatens to dominate the market. Not to mention the myth of an Apple ‘iWatch’ persistently looming on the horizon.
Despite these top tech names all vying for a slice of the wearables pie, George Zachary, a partner with Charles River Ventures and investor in the company, reckons Pebble’s revenue will double in 2014.
This hinges on the range’s expansion, which has already grown to include the Pebble Steel– a higher-priced and higher-status smart watch. For these watches there are already more than 1,000 apps available, with 12,000 registered developers promising more. At the very least, the smart watch start-up certainly has had a strong head start.
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