LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
A new record has been set on the fundraising website Kickstarter for over $11 million. That beats the former record of $10.2 million, which was raised for a smart watch. But this time, it is not for a watch, an independent film, an art installation or a community park. It's for a cooler. It's called The Coolest Cooler. And it is the kind you put drinks in. Here to explain what his cooler does and what made his campaign so successful is the creator, Ryan Grepper. Ryan joins us from New York City. Thank you very much for being with us.
RYAN GREPPER: Thank you so much for having me.
WERTHEIMER: I wonder, first of all - I think I'm not alone when I say I was surprised to hear that the highest grossing Kickstarter campaign was for a cooler. What does this cooler do that got investors so excited?
GREPPER: Well, you have a built-in blender so you can have your blended drinks. It has blue tooth speakers so you can listen to your music. And then other functionality that just doesn't exist in coolers today like simply a bottle opener, big wheels so you can actually roll your cooler across the ground and then a tie-down strap so you can carry your gear with it.
WERTHEIMER: This is not the first time you've tried to lunch your cooler with the Kickstarter campaign. What happened the first time?
GREPPER: Well, the short story is I failed. Around 9 or 10 years ago, I built my own blender out of a weed wacker to bring to the beach and entertain my friends. And then I put my car stereo in an old cooler years ago. And last year, when I finally pulled these out of deep storage after having kids, neither of them really worked. And I thought, wow, this is my opportunity for a Kickstarter project when I saw the reaction that my friends and family had. And we launched that campaign, but it just didn't reach its funding goal.
WERTHEIMER: So what did you do? You've got the same product. So it must have been something you did.
GREPPER: Well, it was. Kickstarter and crowd funding in general is a very visual platform. And so I went ahead and I moved the design a lot farther along to the production-ready state that we are now so people could really see what the product looked like. And then we did a lot more due diligence, really taking The Coolest out to tailgates, other events, building up this fan base and list of potential backers that we had ready to go on that day one.
WERTHEIMER: So homework, that's the key.
GREPPER: One of the biggest failure points for many campaigns is this expectation that my great product can stand on its own. Where really, many campaigns might launch and they're spending their short campaign window trying to reach out and connect with these potential backers. And they may not, you know, have done the homework to find out the best way to communicate what it is that your product can help other people with. Why should people care?
WERTHEIMER: Ryan Grepper is creator of The Coolest Cooler. He spoke to us from New York. Ryan, thank you very much for this.
GREPPER: Thank you so much for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.