Crowdfunding has become a popular way for startups to gauge customer interest in products and help turn prototypes into a fully fledged business. Now, as we near the end of 2017, we’re taking a look at the top 10 most funded Kickstarter campaigns that launched in Chicago this year. The types of products that took off with consumers might surprise you. 

  1. The Table of Ultimate Gaming

Topping the list is a multi-function tabletop game. It is a fully modular and expandable system that is handmade from woods and water-based paints. Each table features an adjustable play surface and customized accessories such as a cup holder, card organizers, and campaign screens. With expandable gaming systems, accessories and expandability, it can be customized for home use, game stores, gaming events, or game cafes and restaurants.

The Table of Ultimate Gaming Kickstarter was funded in less than 5 minutes after going live and quickly blew away their goal of $25k.

Funded: $1,237,618

  1. Fluent Forever

Founded by former opera singer Gabe Wyner, the Fluent Forever App is a mobile app designed to help people learn foreign languages. It uses an adaptive flashcard system to help memorize languages. The app allows users to learn pronunciation first by watching videos and then to learn vocabulary and grammar by picking words and sentences from the video and matching them with pictures. Flashcards are automatically created based on the user’s choice and will appear repeatedly later on.

Languages so far include English, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Hebrew and Arabic. In September, it became the most funded app in Kickstarter history.

Funded: $587,785

  1. The Aviary Cocktail Book

Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas, the creators and owners of Alinea in Chicago, have teamed up with Allen and Sarah Hemberger, an artist duo from California, to make a cookbook for their cocktail bar The Aviary in West Loop.

By removing the middleman and directly fundraising on Kickstarter, they plan to adaptively make decisions about things like recipe count, physical dimensions of the book, paper type, and other design and production touches.

Funded: $423,627

  1. Game Anywhere Tables

After introducing the GAT-44 Game Anywhere Tables, the company has brought an updated version to Kickstarter this time. This table features a larger playing surface and lots of magnetic interchangeable player panel accessories. It allows each player to customize their own player station to display game cards and game pieces in any arrangement they choose. The updated GAT-64 PLUS can also be folded to the size of a standard piece of luggage.

Funded: $385,510

  1. RompHim

RompHim is a romper specially designed for men. The romper features a front shirt pocket, adjustable waist, zippered back pocket and zipper fly. The campaign was run by a group of business school students who decided to try to bring something new and fun to menswear.

Funded: $353,804

6. 60 Second Salad Maker

The 60 Second Salad Maker is designed to hold all of the ingredients in a salad. The unique slits take the hassle out of rinsing and straining and allow you to chop the ingredients all at once. Cut through the slits in one direction, then rotate the top for a perfect salad that’s made in about a minute. 

Funded: $335,734

  1. NeoLucida XL

The NeoLucida XL is a modern reinterpretation of the Camera Lucida, a 19th-century optical drawing aid. It superimposes an image of your subject onto your paper. You see your pencil and your subject at the same time. The NeoLucida XL is designed by Pablo Garcia, associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), who has spent a decade researching historical and contemporary drawing techniques and tools.

Funded: $332,505

  1. Reissue of Humanscale

Created by IA Collaborative, Reissue of Humanscale is a masterfully crafted quick-reference guide for designing products for humans. Every booklet contains a circular disc that the designer rotates to dial in user data across attributes like age, height, strength, and ability level. The toolkit offers more than 60,000 bits of ergonomic and human-factors data, including body dimensions, ergonomic seating standards, wheelchair access guidelines, legibility principles, and more.

Funded: $326,109

  1. LuminAID Solar Inflatable Lantern and Phone Charger (2-in-1)

Graduate Architecture students at Columbia University first got this idea from the Haiti Earthquake in 2011 and designed a simple lighting solution that could be cost-effectively shipped in emergencies. They went on to invent in solar inflatable technology and launched LuminAID, a 2-in-1 solar lantern and phone charger that packs down to one inch thick. It is set for emergency use as it is lightweight, portable, waterproof, floats and can work in any weather. Backers could also choose to send to one to a refugee family in need in Syria.

Funded: $279,743

  1. The COMPLETE Girls With Slingshots

Artist Danielle Corsetto’s webcomic series Girls with Slingshots follows several friends as they deal with life events like unemployment, marriage, and their sexuality. It debuted September of 2004 and won the Reuben Award of Online Short Form Comics in 2015. The Complete Girls with Slingshots not only includes every single Girls with Slingshots strip ever uploaded but also comes with some extras, like behind-the-scenes art, creator commentary, and some new comics.

Funded: $260,942