Crowdfunding has grown from a single blog mention to what is projected to be a $96bn industry by 2025. One of the key reasons for this exceptional growth is crowdfunding’s inherent ability to inspire and fulfill the American dream. Anyone with creative vision and the ability to execute has the chance to create a million dollar product. For the first time, the playing field is officially level.
That is until corporations get involved.
Mophie was founded about the same time as that first crowdfunding mention and has grown from humble beginnings in a Michigan barn to becoming one of the leading Apple accessory giants generates over $200M annually through quality work and exciting innovation. Sadly, this happy success story has taken a disappointing turn as Mophie’s attorneys began taking active steps to squash the innovation of another iPhone case company that is currently raising funds on Indiegogo.
PowerCliq by ON3 is the world’s first fully-integrated Bluetooth 4.0 headset and iPhone charging case. The headset is seamlessly built into the back of the case so that it can be easily stored and automatically charged when not in use.
Last week, ON3 received a cease and desist order from Mophie’s attorneys, even though ON3 is not infringing on Mophie’s patents, they are simply trying to develop a case that they feel is addressing a need in the market. So what was their crime? They used “#mophie” and “#juicepack” in two tweets.
Now we’re not saying that Mophie was out of line with their demand, they have the right to send orders like that to whomever they would like, however, let’s look at some basic facts. Mophie is worth many hundreds of millions of dollars, ON3 is trying to raise $50K through Indiegogo and have raised $4,500 so far. We’re not sure how much money Mophie paid their attorneys to draft and send that order but it was probably more than the entire value of ON3.
Right about now, you might be saying, “It’s a free market. If Mophie has the funds, they have the right to spend them in the interest of their company.” You’re absolutely right, however, this is not about Mophie spending their funds, this is about an alternative product having a chance to succeed through the best avenue available – crowdfunding. If startups can’t safely crowdfund their vision and compare it to recognizable brands in the space through social media, what is the future for innovation and entrepreneurship in this country?
Between crowdfunding and social media, we have in our midst a truly democratized ecosystem for inspiring and promoting creativity, from the Coolest Cooler to the Solar Roadways to the Nepalese relief effort. Imagine all of the amazing things that can be developed over the next 10 years if we truly allow innovation to flourish.