This is going to be the backer update that no Kickstarter project wants to send.
Super short version
- 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 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.
- If you are a backer, please see "Refunds" at the bottom of this post - and you'll receive an e-mail with additional instructions.
Not at all short version
When we checked in with you guys about five weeks ago, we were celebrating that we had finally completed the software for Ada. Exciting as that was, the subsequent five weeks have been a gauntlet of disappointment. As we were finally ready to place the order with the factory, we realised a few things; Most importantly, that the manufacturing phase of Triggertrap Ada was going to be way more expensive than we expected. In fact, by the time all was said and done, Ada was going to cost three times more to create than we had planned for when we kicked off the project.
In itself, that’s bad enough, but we also spent a lot more money than we had hoped to get to this point. In fact, we spent over five times more on bringing Triggertrap Ada to market than we had budgeted for. Triggertrap’s CEO wrote more in depth about the impacts of how all of this happened earlier today, but the short version is that we can’t afford to put Triggertrap Ada into production. There isn’t enough money left from the Kickstarter project to begin the large-scale manufacturing.
We tried to rescue the project by opening for additional pre-orders (but we achieved only 5% of the number of pre-orders we needed to go to production). We spoke to a small group of investors to raise the money for production, but that didn't go as well as we hoped. Finally, we went to our bank to get a bridge loan for the project, but failed at that, too.
No matter how we twist and turn our current situation, the future of Triggertrap Ada looks very bleak. What it basically boils down to is this: if we try to manufacture Triggertrap Ada, we will fail.
If Triggertrap were a single-product company, we’d keep fighting to the bitter end with one of two possible outcomes: We’d either deliver Ada to our Kickstarter backers, or die trying. However, Triggertrap isn't a one-trick pony. We have hundreds of thousands of customers who rely on our Triggertrap Mobile product around the world. If we try to get Ada shipped, there's a very large probability that Triggertrap would go out of business. That would mean we wouldn’t just be letting you - our Kickstarter backers - down: It would also mean letting down all our existing customers. We thought about it long and hard, but we could only see one way out: We have to cancel Triggertrap Ada, and instead focus our attention on Triggertrap Mobile.
We know this is disappointing. Making this call has been far from easy, but we don’t see any other way of doing this. That said, we've been in communication with Kickstarter, and we intend to do everything we can to do the right thing and clean up after ourselves as we draw a line under this project.
We’re deeply sorry, ashamed, and heartbroken that we’ve failed to deliver.
So, what happens now?
We got quite far in delivering the product, and failed at the very last hurdle.
We did promise that we would release our product as open source, and will do so as soon as we can - we’ll make the source code available on our Github repository in the next couple of weeks, and we’ll also make the PCB designs, schematics, and all the other things we've created along the way available as soon as we can.
We are also going to create a ‘hall of fame’ of the people who backed our Kickstarter project. If you want to be included, please ensure you click on the link in the e-mail you received, and fill in the form.
And then, there's refunds.
We will refund the remainder of the funds from our Kickstarter campaign to our backers. To date, we’ve spent around 80% of the funds we received, and have 20% of the money remaining.
These remaining funds are what we are distributing back to our Kickstarter backers.
Options for processing refunds
We spoke to a couple of dozen of you over the past week to get your feedback. You know who you are - thank you so much for your candid feedback and help.
We were surprised to hear that many of you didn’t see the point in getting a small amount of money back. The feedback we received varied: Some of you preferred we donate what’s left to charity, others wanted the refund to spend in the Triggertrap shop, and others again said something to the effect of “Keep it, I know you guys tried”.
To that end, we will be e-mailing all of you individually (If you haven’t received an e-mail by the end of the day, please contact us on email@example.com). In that e-mail, we’ll give you a few options for how to get your refund. The options we are offering are:
- No refund - We weren’t going to include this as an option, but several of you were quite passionate about this. Whatever the reason, if you’re not bothered about a refund, pick this option.
- 20% donated to charity - “I pledged so long ago that the money doesn’t really exist to me any more. Why don’t you give it to charity instead?” asked one of our backers. We thought about it, and decided it was an great idea; We’ve picked Photovoice as our charity partner. If you pick this option, we’ll donate the remaining 20% of your pledge to Photovoice, to help them with their mission of running worldwide projects that empower marginalised groups with a voice through photography.
- 20% refund - If you pick this option, we’ll refund 20% of your pledge to you via Kickstarter’s refund option. It’s a manual process, and it may take up to 90 days before we process everybody’s refunds, but we’ll get through it, and endeavour to get you your money by the end of May.
- 50% in store credit - Finally, if you would like to spend your money in the Triggertrap shop, we can offer you 50% of your pledge as shop credit.
We are able to offer more as shop credit than as a cash refund, because we can ship you our products at cost price (to us, a 20% cash refund is about the same as a 50% store credit) and it is much easier logistically (i.e. it takes a lot less admin time) to issue store credit than process a manual refund.
How to get in touch
We know you've been really excited about getting your hands on Triggertrap Ada, and that this is terrible news to receive, and we appreciate that many of you may have questions. We're ready to help at firstname.lastname@example.org - if you could, please include your backer level in the e-mail, so it's easier to look you up.
Thank you, and our deepest apologies again.