Casey Hopkins didn’t have the cash to launch his sleek aluminum iPhone dock, but his friend had a nice camera. They made a video, then uploaded it to Kickstarter.com.

A month later, he’s raised more than $537,000 through the crowd funding site, and his project is gaining thousands of dollars a day.

“I wasn’t the only one frustrated with Apple’s docks,” Hopkins said. No kidding: More than 5,500 people have backed the project so far.

Such is the lure of crowd funding, which is quickly becoming a mainstream-financing vein on sites such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, Appbackr and RocketHub. One private research group placed the industry’s value at $1.6 billion in 2009, a number it expects will more than triple by next year.

Image from Kickstarter