6 Oct 2021 07:00

Profitable from “Day 1” with Peter Dering, Founder and CEO of Peak Design

Oculus - a VR company acquired by Facebook for 2 billion dollars in 2014. 

Popsockets - the little pop out button that attaches to the back of your phone, a simple idea that is now making more than 100 million dollars in profit every year. 

And Tile - the bluetooth device that lets you find misplaced items, has partnered with Amazon and sold more than 35 million devices.

What do these three companies have in common?

They all got their start, their first dollar earned, on the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter. But even with recognizable products and massive success stories like theirs, crowd-funding is still far from the normal way to secure funding, and it is certainly not the ordinary way to secure ALL of your funding year over year for more than a decade. 

Yet for Peter Dering, the founder of Peak Design, crowdfunding was the only business plan he bet on. And it was that bet that would propel him from here:

“I had already run out of money and taken a job at a restaurant to make ends meet. I was a food runner, which is the lowest man on the totem pole.” 

To here:

“I had a profitable business after two days of selling… The Kickstarter community just flocked to this idea. And so that success was pretty immediate and it felt incredible.”

How did launching a Kickstarter get Peter out of odd jobs and place him at the head of a business skyrocketing to success? And how is he carrying on Peak’s crowdfunded origins every year to continue to fund new projects while building unwavering customer loyalty? Find out that and more on today’s episode of The Journey.

Main Takeaways:

  • Building Customer Loyalty: Crowdfunding built a fiercely loyal customer base early in the company’s life. From there, Peak continued to nurture that relationship by investing in thoughtful, reliable products and honestly addressing complaints if a customer ever ran into any issues. 
  • Employee-first Approach: Their company has near-zero turnover and focuses a lot on creating a space where their team can feel fulfilled by their work. Peter hires slowly and intentionally and in so doing has built a time that he trusts to set their own goals, timelines, and budgets.
  • A Formula for Success: To this day, Peak is still 100% crowdfunded. Every year, Peter and his team launch a new Kickstarter. They’ve created a winning formula that can be repeated again and again.


This season of the Journey is produced by Mission.org and brought to you by UPS. To learn how UPS can help your small business, go to UPS.com/pivot.


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