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Tiko is the 3D printer you’ve been waiting for. Simple, accessible, and dependable, all for a pledge of $179.
Tiko is the 3D printer you’ve been waiting for. Simple, accessible, and dependable, all for a pledge of $179.
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16,538 backers pledged $2,950,874 to help bring this project to life.

Winding Up

Posted by Tiko 3D (Creator)
152 likes
Hello everyone,  

It has been quite some time since we last spoke, and it’s time to bring you up to speed. As you may recall, in February we announced that Tiko had run into financial difficulties. We had frozen all operations, but we were not yet ready to quit. We have since spent over half a year quietly exploring ways to get back on track. We pursued many avenues, but in the end, came up short. As such, it is time for us to share the strategies we explored, the efforts we made, and to finally make a necessary –albeit heartbreaking– announcement. But first, let’s start from the beginning.    

The Turnaround Effort 

After February’s announcement, we maintained some R&D momentum, this time in China. We knew that we would have to demonstrate technical improvements in order to raise capital. Given our financial predicament, our options were limited. But still we pressed onward.  

 Through a combination of experimental firmware developments, slicer fine-tuning, minor hardware adjustments, and QC process improvements, we were able to realize measurable improvements in print quality, success rates, and overall reliability.

Unfortunately, improving print quality was not enough to secure a deal. While investors were impressed by the printer and complimented us on our work, they ultimately turned us down. Tiko was not a good fit. We kept seeking new investors, but a pattern soon emerged. Our capital requirements were too large for Angels, but our operation was too risky for Venture Capital. We had scaled up too soon, and sought capital too late. 

Over and over again, we were turned down. By late May we had gotten the message – Tiko would not be funded. Still, we were not ready to give up, and so we explored other ideas. 

Distributors

First, we reached out to the dozens of distributors who had contacted us over the past year. It seemed there were countless opportunities here, but it turned out there weren’t. Some were small-scale re-sellers seeking order sizes too small to overcome our manufacturing overheads. Others were large and established distributors that required us to manufacture inventory first – using capital we did not have and could not raise. We were stuck, and one by one, the opportunities fizzled out. 

Throughout the campaign, we had concentrated on fulfilling rewards first, so we largely left commercial (B2B) sales/distribution on the back-burner. While this felt morally right, it also meant that we had missed our opportunity to create strong partnerships and sales channels (which take months or years to build) that could potentially have saved us. 

We tried taking a more active approach by attending some local B2B tradeshows to meet other distributors. While we received a great deal of interest, nothing significant ever materialized. We had already missed the boat.

Local Retailers

Through June and beyond, we attempted to bootstrap our way to some profitability, enough to prove traction/stability with those risk-averse investors. We therefore put the remaining few Tiko’s into local retail stores, and worked with their staff to optimize sales. 

While Tiko received great interest, the sales were modest at best. Tiko was cool, but it was neither a necessity nor an impulse buy. The investors were not impressed – and we needed them. Local sales alone would not save us. 

Even if we had sold all of the remaining (assembled) inventory, the resulting revenue would not have covered the overhead of manufacturing additional units. All we had left were boxes and boxes of parts – but not of the whole BOM. A few components were only manufactured JIT (Just in Time) due to their size (ie chassis) leaving us with very little finished stock. By now, other components were also being held as collateral.

We simply could not manufacture additional units from sales revenue alone. Tiko was designed for mass manufacture – small batches were prohibitively expensive to produce. We continued to explore a combination of investment/distribution/retail, trying to use each to bolster the others, but it was slowly becoming clear that the company would not make a comeback. Tiko was buckling under its own weight, and there was nothing we could do about it. 

Acquisition 

By August and we were beaten and bruised, but not broken. We knew the company could not recover, but we hoped to at least salvage the situation for our backers – even if that meant walking away with nothing. 

There are some rather powerful technologies within Tiko’s hardware and software – technologies we believed could be of value to established manufacturers. Even if a company didn’t wish to manufacture the Tiko printer, the technologies inside could be of interest to them. As such, we pursued a number of leads to sell the company/IP in exchange for the minimum funds required to ship Tiko (or a substitute printer) to backers, or otherwise offer a full. We received some interest, but nothing that would completely satisfy Tiko’s obligations. We were running out of options. 

The Final Stretch 

By September, we had only one lead left. It had already been several months in the making, and looked promising. It was a hybrid investment-acquisition deal that would have resulted in the shipment of all remaining printers to backers. We were thrilled. It seemed like a solution was finally around the corner. 

We had worked quietly and diligently for so long to get to this stage, and we didn’t want to screw it up by prematurely announcing good news. It felt so damn close, like we were on the cusp of closing the deal and getting back to work. At the same time, it had been an eternity since we posted any updates. Weeks had become months, and months had become seasons. This whole situation had gotten way out of hand. 

 We didn’t know what to do. We focused on closing the deal, and decided not to rock the boat. We had come this far, why not stall just a bit longer. It was Tiko’s last chance at a great future after all. We weren’t going to let it slip. It was so damn close, so we kept pushing forward. 

 However, by late-September, something was wrong. This was taking too long. The other party showed signs of cold feet. New excuses kept popping up. Always a new delay. It took until mid-October for them to finally come out and say it - they weren’t interested anymore, and the deal was dead. It was game over. 

A Painful Decision 

It has been a rough and painful journey, and we have exhausted every option available to us. We did our best to bring Tiko to life and to your door, but in the end, it wasn’t enough. We are now making the only decision left to make. With deep sadness in our hearts, and much to our disappointment, we are officially closing the company. It’s over. The project has failed.

What Happens Next? 

Section 4 of the Kickstarter Terms of Use outlines a creator’s obligations if they are no longer able to complete the project and fulfill rewards. They are as follows: 

Today’s update marks the official end of Tiko project to the world at large. There will be another (more backer-oriented) update posted this week, in which we will provide additional backer-specific information (ie how the funds were used, how the windup will proceed, etc) and generally fulfill the remainder of these contractual obligations. 

During this time we encourage you to ask any questions you may have, as this post will include an FAQ.

Wrapping Up

Let’s face it. There is no good way to end this. Tiko was our baby – meaning yours and ours. We built all of this together. You believed in us, you supported us, and still we let you down. We’re sorry. Deeply, truly, sorry. 

Despite all of the pain, grief, and frustration this campaign has caused, we still genuinely wish to thank you. It didn’t end the way we wanted, but we still shared an incredible journey together. You gave Tiko a chance at life. You saw our vision, and you dared to dream with us.

So many amazing people took part in the Tiko story, both in and outside of the Kickstarter community. We thank each and every one of you for the support you showed us during these turbulent years. Even when we stumbled, you showed us compassion. You gave us strength. You challenged us. You inspired us.

We hope that every one of you comes out of this stronger. Our backers. Our employees. Our suppliers. Our advisers. Our partners. Everyone. This wasn’t all for nothing. Together we have learned so much. We have grown wiser, more resilient, and more grateful for what we have. 

With that, we wish every one of you the best moving forward. We have learned the hard way that chasing your dreams can be risky, but trust us, letting them go is worse. Whatever you do in your life, wherever you may go, we hope that you will still dare to dream. To dream big. To take your chance and to pursue it. Whether you succeed, or not, you’ll never know unless you try. 

So try, try, and try again. You only have one life. Give it everything you’ve got. 

Sincerely,

Team Tiko

Maarten Schets, Eli Azee, and 150 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Troy Mobley on

      You people are worthless losers and I’m happy that I got a Kossel printer instead. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is I’m glad also a Chinese company copied your design =)). Maybe I sound like a jerk but I’m so happy that you will live with what happened for your whole life

    2. bulwynkl on

      There is one thing you can do now to ensure this project lives on beyond this kickstarter.

      Release the design and code into the public domain.

      This is far far more valuable to me as a backer than any possible remuneration to be gained selling that intellectual property on.

      IMHO you should have open sourced the whole project from the start. It's plausible you would have avoided many of the mistakes made by having far more eyeballs, and the code quality would have been much improved.

    3. Missing avatar

      cindy on

      I have been trying unsuccessfully to update tiko from print.tiko . Is there another way to do it?

    4. Ben on

      Maybe interesting: (Unterstützer means Backer)

      Die meisten Unterstützer kommen aus
      diesen Ländern
      Vereinigte Staaten von Amerika
      7.741 Unterstützer
      Kanada
      1.114 Unterstützer
      Vereinigtes Königreich
      920 Unterstützer
      Australien
      734 Unterstützer
      Deutschland
      675 Unterstützer
      Japan
      471 Unterstützer
      Spanien
      365 Unterstützer
      Frankreich
      346 Unterstützer
      Niederlande
      300 Unterstützer
      Schweden
      281 Unterstützer

    5. Rob Dotson on

      Fuck you guys. You stole the shipping money went so far as to tell me (and the other shipment 3) backers that the printers were on a boat, and had the gall to include a fucking map showing its location. Not only did it not arrive, apparently those units were sold directly to people IN CHINA. Fuck the lot of you and your bullshit explanations, you ran out of money, tried to scam us into paying additional money and then failed to produce. Its as simple as that.

    6. Besh
      Superbacker
      on

      I have to say I agree about the shipping. That is total bullshit if you spent our shipping costs otherwise. Further, I'm a little pissed to learn that you had enough Tiko's to attempt to sell them in a retail setting. Why not send those to at least a few more backers. Agreed, share the tech at least with this community, considering your default on the product, you really do owe us the IP. Taking it with you to other ventures would violate the sanctity of the Kickstarter terms.

    7. Missing avatar

      Damian Smith on

      Hi,

      I find your 'explored all avenues' sentiment on funding daft, in that you never came back to your support base - us, the backers, to explore our appetite for funding you further, even on a 'loan' basis.

      At no point have to presented the business case, not even a 'we need $100k' or whatever - you do seem to have burnt through $29 million already however...

    8. Missing avatar

      Homero Trueba on

      Thanks for the closure, guys and gals. What is life but a path of steps. I like my printer. I’m a Physicist and EE. I’ll tinker and play with it.

      Take care

    9. Jeff Newbill on

      I ordered 3 of them and received all 3. Could never get them to work right.

    10. Missing avatar

      Joerg Johann Mueller on

      I didn't receive my TIKO and you said, project ins down. So you will not deliver my TIKO. I pay for the shipping and without shipping I want my money back immediately. If you use it for something else, it's a fraud and you lie about how you will use it.

    11. Harvey Summers on

      I’m not mad. This is a risk that we signed up for.

      Suggestions

      Release software to open source.
      See if you can arrange a source of repair parts
      For those who didn’t get a printer, see if a competitor might offer a goodwill discount.

    12. Harvey Summers on

      Where/ how do I get software updates? I would like to update it and donate it to a school.

    13. Henry Mang on

      I haven't received Tiko, I haven't received refund for Tiko, I haven't received refund for shipping Tiko.
      Do you know the law of Karma?

    14. Missing avatar

      Bedas on

      For fuck sake people. Stop whininng about it. Move on in your lives.
      I'm also pissed what happened...so what? Shit happens every day.

    15. Missing avatar

      leadergg on

      我们买了大房子 豪车 取了美女 到处旅游度假 但是我们破产了 所以
      没钱

      HI
      all Fools
      We bought a big house, a luxury car, hot girl, alsoTravel around for vacation, but we went bankrupt,
      so...No money

    16. Nils Lanthemann on

      The only fair thing Tiko can do at this point is:
      A: Return all shipping costs for products that were never shipped. Taking money with no intend on using it the way it was supposed to be is a horrible thing to do and you should be ashamed of scamming people.
      B: Make everything open source. You failed, that's okay. But at least share how and why you failed, give us the what you learned, show us the software etc. Or are you afraid we might find out you did a bad job?

    17. Missing avatar

      oliver ho on

      Hi there, I would like to request for a refund please.

    18. Michael Kubler on

      There's an idea I just came across yesterday. Failed startups should release their works as open source.

      You've likely got CAD designs, software and with a day or two's documentation could note the known problems.

      Obviously a lot of the issues were in manufacturing, with some in a lack of finances allowing those problems to be rectified before you ran out of money.

      As a backer of Tiko who's desperately wanted you guys to succeed, but knowing you tried something amazing but it didn't quite work, I would feel very happy if my funds weren't returned* but were instead the money was put on open sourcing the learnings.

      Posts:
      http://bloglz.de/turn-failed-sustainability-startups-into-fertile-soil-humus-for-new-ones-with-open-source/
      https://www.facebook.com/lars.zimmermann.716/posts/10215121822827367

      * Note: I think my funds were already returned, but I'd donate some money to having this released open source.

    19. Missing avatar

      Michael Lee on

      Can we all get our money back pls?

    20. Timothy Ritzema on

      You did succeed - in making me never buy anything on Kickstarter ever again; in sparking my creativity - as I imagined all the ways you were actually spending my shipping fee instead of shipping me a product; in helping me a grow - a festering hatred for you, your product and the vague guidelines Kickstarter feels is sufficient for "best possible outcomes." Spare us the hoops you must now jump through to avoid getting sued.

    21. Melanie on

      I did get a machine - but after the first few days of attempting to get it to print anything worthwhile it has sat gathering dust. I've since moved on to better products. A shame that this goes down as only the second KS I've backed that has failed. I may have a printer but it's so poor as to consider it non-existent.

      I hope you all learned a lot if you choose to make any other hardware ventures down the road...

    22. Carles Carreras on

      I would like my shipping fee back immediately. Thanks

    23. Tsai da Yi on

      I don't want to wait any more.
      Please give my money back ASAP.
      How can you let a product delay for more than 2 years?

    24. Missing avatar

      Blair on

      You knew the project was failing when you asked for delivery fee. Thats fraud in my eyes.

      Eat a dick.

    25. James Sweatman on

      Sad to see the end of TIKO, but good to see an honest hands in the air admission of failure, that's tough to do. Such an update would, on other projects, have garnered a level of respect, however, I still cannot forgive charging for a delivery that you never delivered on. I understand kickstarting is a gamble,so that money lost was my choice, my mistake. Charging me for delivery on the other hand was not my mistake, it was yours and it was fraud.

      I hope you address the delivery charge issue that has left this distaste, and return a level of respect to you and your company.

    26. Missing avatar

      Simon Henry on

      If the company is so worth less open source it. Then the community could help make a product you could sell.
      Also can I have my shipping money back pleas

    27. Missing avatar

      William Hall on

      I encourage you to make the TIKO firmware and the test software that you developed under this project available under an open source license. If that is not possible due to legal or intellectual property constraints, then could you at least publish the hardware details (connector pinouts, voltages, sensor information, control signals, etc.) to allow those of us fortunate enough to have received a TIKO to use it for something?

    28. Valentina Brauer on

      I feel really stolen by this project and because of this I will never believe in a kickstarted project again. Because apart from receiving nothing they made us the illusion of something that never arrived and more they stole my shipment.

    29. Mykhaylo on

      I will buy your TIKO :)

    30. Missing avatar

      Rey Espinueva on

      I never got any TIKO as compared to the others. Kindly update me as to how I will be refunded my backer money. I would prefer via PayPal using my yahoomail reyespinueva@yahoo.com or direct to paypal.me/REspinueva.
      Thanks,
      Rey Espinueva

    31. Dan R on

      What Clifford Huffman said. I also received a TIKO but need parts to get it running. Any firmware updates would be appreciated. Making this open source would be awesome.

    32. Adam Chance on

      Such a sad ending to a great project. You all worked hard to bring an idea to life. TIKO was a wonderful idea and I fully backed and still back your moves. Thanks for the constant and transparent updates and communications.
      I hope there will be the possibility to purchase remaining parts and pieces for those who did get a unit.
      Beat of luck.

    33. Clifford Huffman on

      I would be interested in parts and the firmware updates or making it open source. I got my TIKO But without a couple parts It is just a paperweight.. Please make parts available. I would be willing to purchase them.

    34. Ray Duncan on

      Pretty sad outcome and has been the case with most Kickstarter projects I've backed - either they go broke without delivering anything, or they deliver a reasonable looking product and then go broke and there's no support, or they deliver something that is not nearly what was promised. Even Pebble, one of the few relative success stories, is now gone, having been absorbed by Fitbit and then deconstructed (more of an acquihire than a product acquisition). I think I'm done with Kickstarter now.

    35. Missing avatar

      ben on

      Thats surprising you took the tikos you had working and didnt send them to anybody, & you got shipping fees for an un finished product. Yea guys lets go to china and get it massed produced there, its not like the government itself runs the industrial aspect of its country. They do not respect patents at all and will do whatever they can to shut down the main company and produce the knock off product by whatever means neccessary, i am currently going to school for mechatronics and the method of making your printer should be easy and cheap af. Who ever you had over production and or financial are both incompetent. I inderstand when you have a web of people you have to pay it takes alot of money but obviously your web was much more vast then it should have been.

    36. Missing avatar

      Timo T on

      Tiko says: "Together we have learned so much."

      So, I have paid Tiko and received a service: A learning experience + shipping fee.
      I think I'm obliged to pay VAT on a service too. We don't want to commit a fraud, do we?
      What might Tiko think for the value of this learning experience?
      Shipping cost I remember, well, and VAT on that is about $10.

    37. Missing avatar

      Joseph Sienko on

      Where's my shipping money? You don't get to keep that.

    38. Missing avatar

      Robert Row on

      will you be doing some kind of last firmware update or open up the source code to let developpers improve the existing hardware that was shipped?

    39. Vito Nicola Iacobazzi on

      With the shipping cost money send at least the disassembled pieces you have available!

    40. Vito Nicola Iacobazzi on

      Con i soldi delle spese di spedizione spedite almeno i pezzi disassemblati che avete a disposizione!

    41. Missing avatar

      Steve on

      How come such a lengthy excuses email and not even mention about shipping fee?
      Which means they are not sincere and still try to deceive us. Tiko, you guys really need to take legal responsibility for fraud.

    42. Missing avatar

      Steven Hay on

      My friend is an electronics enthusiast and quite good with 3D printers and has offered to help. If you would do your investors one final nod and show your true class through this whole thing it would be to release your printer's code. This way the Tiko may be able to live on through the tinkerers. You said it was not for nothing, this would be the right way to prove that.

    43. Missing avatar

      Michael Saulters on

      You requested shipping fees based on an expectation that you were ready to ship. Those were not to be used for any other purpose, amd refusal to refund them is fraud. They should have been refunded six months ago, and in no way does a 'backer-specific' email relieve you of the obligation to return those funds. KS should be suing you. Every backer who did not receive their Tiko should be suing you. You should be prosecuted for wire fraud.

    44. Mason Rey on

      I would like my shipping fee back immediately!

    45. Missing avatar

      Yigal W. Bynoe on

      I want my shipping fee back ASAP!

    46. Sven Bautz on

      I would like my shipping fee back immediately!

    47. Laurent Chenet on

      I would like my shipping fee back immediately.

    48. Blake on

      Will the hardware and software be open-sourced?

    49. Missing avatar

      Daniel K on

      I would like my shipping fee back immediately.

    50. Jason Rost on

      Others have already said it better than I can.

      However I would like my shipping fee back immediately.