Two years ago we reported on the modular high speed camera trigger named Ada, made by the same company that created the Mobile dongles to connect your smartphone with your camera. Triggertrap managed to successfully fund their Kickstarter project together with nearly 2,000 backers. The company had an initial goal of raising £50,000, but eventually collected £290,386.
The initial promise of delivering a product in May 2014 was not kept, but all still seemed well since Triggertrap was posting regular progress updates on the Kickstarter page. Little over one week ago this all came to an end with a post titled “It’s the end of the road. We failed.,” in which they explain that the costs for developing and creating the Ada had been much higher than initially expected.
“We have a final working prototype, but it cost five times more to get to this point than we had planned for, and will cost three times more to manufacture per unit than we had hoped,” the company said. “The upshot of this is that we can’t afford to put Ada into production, and are refunding the remaining Kickstarter funds to our backers as a result.” Without having enough money left for manufacturing they decided the wisest move would be to give back every backer only 20% of their initial investment.
Many backers were outraged with this decision, accusing Triggertrap of deciding to stop the project in order to keep their Mobile Dongle product line-up healthy. They claim that Triggertrap used their money for development and will walk away with the gained knowledge. Triggertrap responded to this claim by saying that all current designs, schematics and details will become available as open source.
For some people this might be very annoying since they lost their money, but for others it can be seen as a wise lesson. Kickstarter is not an online web store. By backing a project you are doing an investment that has the potential to go bust. It does not happen frequently fortunately, but the risk is always there.