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Eric Migicovsky: The Wearables World’s Game Changer

It was a busy year for Eric Migicovsky.

The founder and CEO of Pebble — the start-up that’s not really a start-up anymore — helped shatter Kickstarter records in February when the Pebble Time smart watch hit its $500,000 goal within 32 minutes and subsequently reached the $1 million mark just 15 minutes later.

Within 24 hours, Pebble had raised approximately $8.8 million dollars for the Time, eventually going on to raise more than $20 million dollars by more than 78,000 backers. It’s worth noting, of course, that Pebble is no stranger to breaking crowdfunding records: Its first Pebble smart watch became the most-funded Kickstarter campaign of all time when it launched in 2012.

While tech journalists spent the year weighing the pros and cons of the Pebble watches vs. the competing Apple Watch, Migicovsky appeared content with the company’s placement in the industry. He likes to describe the company as being the “Swatch of the smart watch world,” noting to the Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland, in November, “Since Apple announced the Apple Watch, we have doubled our sales. … Our customers are trendy, a little bit younger, looking for more of a deal, confident enough in themselves that they don’t necessarily need the most expensive thing on their wrist.”

Not content with just one record-breaking device the company also launched more follow-up versions of the smart watch this year — the Pebble Time Steel and Pebble Time Round — and debuted new firmware, known as Timeline, that greatly enhanced the devices’ functionality. Migicovsky clearly intends to let the Pebble’s customization be its key to standing out among the nascent market, also debuting the SmartStrap program for do-it-yourselfers and making its voice-recognition Dictation API available for developers.

Indeed, the Pebble OS was expected to take third place for smart watch shipments this year, according to IDC, falling behind WatchOS and Android Wear.

Not bad for a start-up.