Post mortem report and the conclusion of Hardlight
I have some sad news to share with the Hardlight community today: Hardlight VR will be closing down this month. We have been unable to raise additional operating funds, and so, after two years of operation, we have no options left to us but straightforward closure - we are simply out of money. We're disappointed that we can’t do more to make haptics in VR a reality, but we're thankful for the support we've received from those who shared our dream.
As per Kickstarter’s guidelines, I’ll be providing a brief summary of how funds of this campaign were spent.
As publicly published, our total raise on the Kickstarter was approximately 147k. After Kickstarter’s portion, credit card processing fees, and taxes, our final raise was $122,944 plus $30,761 in Backerkit funds (suit only). At the time of the campaign, we calculated from our original supplier quotes that the total cost of the run would be approximately $119k.
The final costs of the manufacturing were:
- $8,697 mandatory first-article manufacturing prototype
- $43,250 plastic injection molds
- $50,643 electronic parts and assembly
- $87,945 textiles, plastics and final assembly
- $22,183 shipping (still counting)
- Total cost: $212,718
For simplicity, we’ve excluded salary and development costs from this total. Miscellaneous costs, such as T shirts, game keys, and other related items are also not included.
As demonstrated, manufacturing the Hardlight took over 138% of our actual raise. We covered the $59,013 additional cost with a combination of traditionally fundraised capital and money from family, friends, and our own savings.
Our wireless module, unfortunately, suffered a more extreme version of this issue. In contrast to the suit, which had already been fully prototyped before the Kickstarter, the wireless was a stretch goal that required additional engineering to create.
Wireless modules were funded by $17,700 raised as an extension of our crowdfunding campaign. Our original design for this system was a simple Bluetooth 5 module that was projected to cost about 10k to to develop and the remainder to manufacture. However, very late in the dev process, we encountered a crippling software issue outside of our control that forced us to completely redo the design. What we’d expected to be a ~10k project turned out to be $18,451 in development costs alone, 104% of the project earnings without any production done. While we ultimately did complete a design for the module, at this time, we no longer have any funds left to manufacture it.
I’m sorry to announce that the wireless add-on of this project has failed, and we will not be able to deliver any physical product for it.
I’m sorry for our silence on this news. We delayed addressing it as we remained hopeful until only a week ago that we would be able to close a small asset sale for the Hardlight technology that would at least allow this module to be completed or refunded. Unfortunately, we have had no offers.
Thank you for your support.
Over the past 9 months, we have been working full time without pay to attempt to find some positive resolution for this project. Sadly, we have had no offers of any kind, either for fundraising or for acquisition, and are now completely out of operating funds. While we still love the idea of haptics in VR, it’s clear that the VR industry is moving far slower than we expected, and we have been unable to make our product or our company sustainable. Thank you all for your help in making the Hardlight a reality, if a short lived one - I’m sorry we could not bring a more successful close to this project.