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Great tech innovators: Eric Migicovsky

Pebble
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  • Age: 27
  • Company: Pebble
  • Best known for: Creating the Pebble smartwatch
  • Quote: "It turns out people really like using Pebble as a watch. It makes sense. It's been 100 years that people have been putting watches on their wrist. It has to solve that problem."

Before Android Wear, before the Apple Watch - even before the Galaxy Gear - there was the Pebble. The monochrome smartwatch was one of Kickstarter's first big success stories when it ran in 2012.

The man behind the Pebble is Eric Migicovsky - his concept was for a watch that would display messages from a smartphone, and Migicovsky was able to raise a chunk of funding from angel investors. However, with Pebble failing to attract enough traditional investors, Migicovsky pushed it onto crowdfunding site Kickstarter in April 2012.

Pebble was a phenomenal success, reaching its $100,000 goal within two hours of going live on the site. Funding closed on May 18, having raised a phenomenal $10,266,844 - and marking the most successful Kickstarter campaign to date, at the time.

Jump to today and you can appreciate how well-timed Migicovsky's idea was. Smartwatches are popping up everywhere, many packing powerful tech, but Pebble's proposition of a cheap, bare-bones notifications device remains incredibly valid. Battery life on the Pebble is far superior to many of its rivals, while the Pebble Steel proved that a cheap smartwatch didn't have to look like a piece of lego.

But Migicovsky hasn't rested on his laurels: Pebble recently launched its third-generation smartwatch via Kickstarter, as well as announcing a "Smartstraps" platform that will let developers build straps loaded with extra features. Moving back to Kickstarter was a bit of a controversial move for such an established name but Migicovsky said the goal was to reward its most loyal backers.

Whether Pebble will continue on its successful trajectory is uncertain; the smartwatch is all about convenience, it's a device we can live without. But Migicovsky hit the nail on the head with the original Pebble - less is more - and has undoubtedly influenced a large number of the smartwatches on the market right now.

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