First and foremost we want to thank all of the Kickstarter backers. For those backers that continue to vocalize your support for us, we thank you. For those of you less out-spoken backers who continue to support us, we thank you too. For all backers, we stand by our promise of delivering you a revolutionary headset, that doesn't use speakers!
It seems our comments section has been hijacked with false statements of facts and attempts at defaming Hybra and Hybra’s employees. Perhaps there has been a misunderstanding of product development protocol, and the overall concept of Kickstarter. BTW, defamation is still illegal...even if it is done on the Internet. We are not stealing backer money, we are not misusing funds, we ARE a legit company working on Sound Band. So, let us clarify a few things.
Hybra has been in business since 2009 and is proud of its successful line of cutting-edge LED lighting sold throughout the world from mom-and-pop businesses to large enterprise companies, not to mention, the Ambassador Bridge, connecting Detroit to Windsor. www.hybraenergy.com. So yes, we are selling lights but the Hybra team and its consortium of engineers, designers, salesman, and support staff, do a lot of things!
Kickstarter states "Backers are supporting projects to help them come to life.” “Project creators offer rewards to thank backers for their support." It seems for some, there may be false expectations relative to the Kickstarter experience.
Most of the negative comments have been directed towards when they’re going to get their Sound Band (the delivery delay), and what happened to Version 4.0. To Hybra, and Kickstarter, Kickstarter is not a store. It is not Amazon nor is it Best Buy. Instead, it is a forum for individuals to provide intimate, direct, input relative to a product, so it may be considered in the design and prior to component procurement, fabrication, assembly, packaging, palletizing, and releasing to the public to sink or swim. A forum to fund projects that SHOULD exist, and for that funding, be involved with the process and rewarded at a later date. Hybra’s Sound Band 4.0 was ready for production and Hybra was prepared to deliver, but also agreed with the flood of backer comments, almost demands, for a slimmer, more efficient Sound Band, adding a wired/wireless option. And only by the very definition defined by Kickstarter themselves, "rewards to thank backers" in wanting to see the product come to life for the greater good of society, we agreed to perform a design change, to make Sound Band better. Hybra does not apologize for the delay. Hybra was not aware of a 45 day refund deadline, nor is Hybra "overwhelmed by the success” as was falsely quoted. Hybra has only remained focused on delivering a revolutionary headset that doesn't use speakers, and with the direction of our backers, throwing away countless thousands of dollars in tooling and design time, a headset that will be better than the one we began our campaign with. This evidences the pure essence of what Kickstarter is about. Again, Kickstarter made Sound Band better.
The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is the largest consumer electronics show in the world hosted by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Most attendees attend CES for the show. The bells, the lights, the THOUSANDS of people geeking out about the latest and greatest...all awesome and inspiring yet not the whole picture. In the past, Hybra has been a floor exhibitor, but prefers to spend its time in the suites, in meetings with component suppliers, software licensors, and prospective future partners. We attend because it gives us the opportunity to meet with everyone - the big guys, the little guys, all in one city. The behind the scenes CES is where the real deals happen and CES 2014 is no exception. (Some have been claiming that we pulled out of our commitment to go to CES because Hybra hasn't registered for a booth. We never intended on having one:)...)
Hybra designed, developed, patented, and prototyped the O.R.B. Bluetooth ring in 2009 and won the Best of Innovations Award at CES 2010, a hard award to get if you’re not Sony, Motorola, Samsung or the like. O.R.B. made a huge splash and was written about in dozens of magazines worldwide. The prototype was chunky, inefficient, and could not meet Hybra’s design parameters for mass production and therefore was shelved until the technology caught up to it, which is getting closer. The only mistake Hybra made was hiring an overeager, San Francisco based marketing firm that, without Hybra’s authorization, submitted a press release to bloggers unveiling a false launch date.
Where monies are being spent
Hybra, through private investment, has spent to-date, over $750k developing Sound Band to get it to where it is today. We are extremely thankful for the $547k raised on Kickstarter but is a portion of the monies, blood, sweat, and tears, spent to bring this exciting product to market. Going forward, the cost per unit to make Sound Bands in short run production will be approximately $75 per unit. 3,838 Sound Bands x $75 = $288k in just materials. The remaining monies are dedicated for engineering the agreed upon upgrades and other associated manufacturing costs including assembly as was outlined in the original campaign. So no, Hybra has not become rich with the success of the Kickstarter campaign and no monies have been misallocated for personal use. Any statement about personal involvement with the monies is by all definitions, defamatory.
Hybra has agreed it will provide weekly updates on the project status which is four (4) times what Kickstarter suggests. Some updates will be more detailed than others. Because we’re performing a board redesign first to incorporate the chip upgrade AND the 3.5mm jack, it is in our opinion that there are limits to what can be shown. Please keep in mind, just like most backers don’t do background checks of project creators, project creators don’t do background checks on its backers and therefore must always be careful about the information provided in the updates.
Now that we are through the Thanksgiving holiday, Christmas is popping up everywhere! If you were planning on gifting your Sound Band reward...fill out this form https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SBcertificate to let us know where to send a placeholder certificate letting that special someone know that there is a Sound Band in their near future. The certificates will be shipping this coming week, T-shirts and Lithographs will follow shortly thereafter.
If a backer is truly unhappy with their reward, dependent on pledge tier, often in the form of a Sound Band, Hybra will be happy to discuss a solution after the delivery.
Why the Kickstarter Backer Portal?
Like many project creators, Hybra elected to host its own backer portal on Hybra property located at Soundband.com. This was decided for many reasons revolving around legitimate conversation and constructive criticism, but most notably, for ownership of the intimate detailed information provided as we move towards production, delivery, and post-delivery. Hybra has no intentions of deleting or modifying posts and to-date, has not done either of those, contrary to some. We think Kickstarter is great, we are in love with the idea, but there are too many different spots for dialogue. There is the comment section, the comments on all 16 updates, the comments on backer group messages, the private messages...all taking away from the spirit of what we’re trying to accomplish, awesome Sound Bands! It is unfortunate that some folks are experiencing login issues, and our IT department is standing by to assist. We really think you are going to find value with the Backer Portal as we have more and more information to share in the coming months.
We WILL deliver you the best Sound Band that we can. Once we get into the next phase of changes, we will be able to confidently provide more specifics. We agree that we should be more communicative with the going-ons and that is what we intend to do.
Cheers as always,
The Hybra Team
Ryan, Joe, Marty, and Meagan