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The Oatmeal’s crowdfunding campaign to build a museum celebrating scientist Nikola Tesla ended over the weekend, having raised a total of $1.37 million.
This makes it the most successfully funded campaign on Indiegogo, nearly doubling the $702,000 record set by a campaign to send bullied bus monitor Karen Klein on vacation.
The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman, who previously raised over $220,000 on IndieGoGo for charity, launched the campaign and asked his readers to pitch in whatever they could. Tesla is a cult-like figure among the internet-savvy, and the museum will honor his life’s work, which Inman documented in one of his famous comics.
The funding will allow a non-profit associated with the campaign to purchase property that once belonged to Tesla’s laboratory in Shoreham, New York. The non-profit will also receive a matching $850,000 grant from New York State, meaning it will now have around $2.2 million to buy the property (listed at $1.6 million) and transform it into a museum. At its peak, the campaign raised about $27,000 per hour.
Perhaps the only people who are happier than hardcore Tesla fans are Indiegogo executives. While the million-dollar goal is just a superficial numerical plateau, the amount of news coverage the campaign received helped solidify the platform’s place in the mainstream crowdfunding lexicon.
To learn more about this campaign, check out the inaugural episode of our podcast, “The Crowded Room,” where we gave our takes on the Tesla museum and other crowdsourcing and crowdfunding initiatives.