Ubuntu Edge campaign raises record-breaking $10.3 million, but it may not be enough

August 16, 2013
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With six days left to raise another $22 million, the future is uncertain for Canonical’s Android and Ubuntu smartphone.

ubuntu edge

When Canonical Ltd., the creator of the popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, announced the crowdfunding campaign for the Edge smartphone, more than a few pairs of eyebrows were raised, mine included.

Mark Shuttleworth’s company asked for an insane $32 million in funding for the first production run of a smartphone that would dual boot Android and Ubuntu and pack the very latest technologies into one powerhouse of a device.

So, three weeks later, how is the fund raising campaign going for the Edge? It’s going well, but probably not well enough.

Canonical announced today that the Ubuntu Edge Indiegogo campaign broke the record for the biggest amount of money ever raised through crowdfunding. At $10.3 million, the project edged past the previous record holder, the Pebble smartwatch, which got $10,266,844 from its Kickstarter campaign.

There’s a catch though – Canonical will only get the $10.3 million if it manages to reach the campaign’s $32 million target in the next six days, which seems improbable right now.

Can the Edge project raise almost $22 million in funding in the last stretch of the campaign? Not without a substantial contribution from a well-moneyed backer. And by substantial, I mean a lot more than the $80,000 that Bloomberg LP pledged last week.

Nevertheless, millionaire Mark Shuttleworth, who’s been financing Canonical for years from his personal bank account, certainly has the financial muscle to push the Edge campaign to its completion. Will he swoop in to save the day with a last-minute mega pledge?

Regardless of the ultimate outcome of the Edge crowdfunding campaign, its main goal was probably to raise awareness about the project. From that perspective, and judging from the buzz it created, the Ubuntu Edge is already a success.

Show Press Release

Ubuntu Edge Smartphone breaks $10.2m crowdfunding record with a week to go

16 August 2013 – Canonical’s campaign to develop the Ubuntu Edge Smartphone has smashed the record for the largest ever amount to be sourced from crowdfunding. The long-standing record, which stood at $10,266,844 and was previously held by the Pebble Watch, was surpassed at around 4am BST this morning. There are still six days of the campaign to run.

The Ubuntu Edge Smartphone, designed to be used both as a phone and a desktop computer, also broke the record for being the fastest to raise $2m (in under eight hours) and raised its first $3m in under 24 hours. Last week also saw the Ubuntu Edge receive its first corporate backer in the shape of Bloomberg, which pledged $80,000 for its “Enterprise 115″ package. The story has also been tweeted on average twice a minute every day since the appeal launched (source: Sysomos), while a Reddit IAMA Q&A session for Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, generated over 3,200 questions.

If the appeal is fully funded, Ubuntu’s vision is to make separate mobile phones and laptops a thing of the past. The Ubuntu Edge smartphone will run Android and Ubuntu’s mobile operating system, so it can convert into a fully integrated desktop PC when connected to a keyboard and monitor.

Jane Silber, Canonical’s CEO said: “When we started this campaign three weeks ago, we hoped it would resonate with our community. So, to break the world record for a crowdfunding campaign is absolutely mind-blowing. We felt that innovation had substantially slowed down in the mobile industry, so wanted to address this. We’re still astonished by the generosity of our community and will continue to do all we can to make the Ubuntu Edge a reality.”

The Ubuntu Edge smartphone appeal is being run on Indiegogo and has a funding target of $32m to fund a single production run of 40,000 units. The handsets are only being offered to supporters pledging $695 or more. They will not be available to buy at launch.

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