Connect with us

Companies

Video: Drone Firm Raises Millions via Kickstarter, Then Rage Quits

Published

on

Kickstarter projects and their woes are the subject of more than one website. While most focus on Kickstarter projects that fail to launch, there is another aspect of Kickstarter which doesn’t get enough attention and probably should: the projects which get funded and then never deliver a product. In this instance, the product is a drone.

Kickstarter backers never go into these things with the idea that they won’t get their promised reward. They’re not there to make a donation. They’re there to be the first to have a cool new piece of tech that’s being built out or a game that’s being developed.

A British firm called Torquing Group promised backers a new palm-sized drone called Zano, which would be:

an ultra-portable, personal aerial photography and HD video capture platform, Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and intelligent enough to fly all by itself! ZANO connects directly to your smart device (iOS or Android) via onboard WiFi and enables you to instantly begin capturing and sharing moments like never before.

https://youtu.be/hgkbhjXTbOE

The idea proved quite popular, and the company found itself raising $3.4 million. You read that right: more than three million dollars for a product which did not demonstrably yet exist, although a prototype drone had been built. But one must surely understand there is a difference between prototyping and mass production. There were a variety of rewards, the top one being for around $800:

You will receive 4 x First Edition ZANOs. Your choice of Black/White and 4 x Charging Cables. You will also receive FREE capability software updates for 12 months after public launch.

97 people funded at this level. Interest in consumer drone technology is at an all-time high. It seems the hobby is fast replacing remote control airplanes and cars for nerdy outdoorsmen, and several firms are vying for a wide open market. It’s growing at such a pace that US-based firms recently saw fit to get ahead of regulators and install certain pseudo-optional airspace controls to keep drone operators out of trouble.

Also read: Consumer Drones Outfitted With Geofences Around Restricted Air Space

The funding campaign ended in January. In May, the company said they’d be shipping their first drones by July. This never happened at the scale promised, though as of November, they’ve shipped 600 out of 15,000 orders. However, that’s not all, folks. A few weeks back, the CEO suddenly left the company, reportedly citing “personal health issues and irreconcilable differences.”

Now, the company is not shipping anything and has instead decided to utilize a British law which allows them to pay back little, if anything, in cases like this.

Having explored all options known to us, and after seeking professional advice, we have made the difficult decision to pursue a creditors’ voluntary liquidation. All creditors will be contacted by an insolvency practitioner next week. […] We are greatly disappointed with the outcome of the Zano project and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us during this difficult period, especially our loyal employees whose commitment has exceeded all expectations.

Ultimately, Kickstarter is by design not liable for defaults such as this. In the case of the Zano, they say they knew as little as anybody and apologized profusely. They had previously told Ars Technica:

The short version is that Kickstarter is a home for creative projects and a new way for people to work together to make things. It’s not a store. Creating something new can of course involve unexpected obstacles. We encourage project creators to be transparent with backers about any problems they run into on the way to completing their projects.

In a statement to backers of the project, Kickstarter reportedly said:

We learned the news of the Zano bankruptcy the same way that you did. […] We e-mailed the creators as recently as two weeks ago to encourage them to be more communicative with their backers, but received only a cursory response. […] [W]e sent an e-mail to the Zano team informing them of their obligations to backers and asking them to share an open and transparent update on what happened with the project. […] If they do not adequately brief backers by that time, Kickstarter will independently pursue an inquiry into the Zano project. Should this occur, we will share those findings with you, the backers, once completed.

Featured image from Kickstarter/Zano.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

Rate this post:

Important for improving the service. Please add a comment in the comment field below explaining what you rated and why you gave it that rate. Failed Trade Recommendations should not be rated as that is considered a failure either way.
0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

5 stars on average, based on 2 rated postsP. H. Madore has covered the cryptocurrency beat over the course of hundreds of articles for Hacked's sister site, CryptoCoinsNews, as well as some of her competitors. He is a major contributing developer to the Woodcoin project, and has made technical contributions on a number of other cryptocurrency projects. In spare time, he recently began a more personalized, weekly newsletter at http://ico.phm.link




Feedback or Requests?

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. pmj1979

    November 25, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    “…Kickstarter is a home for creative projects… It’s not a store.”
    Kickstarter is a store in every way except the in the description given by kickstarter themselves.
    Many projects are created by established businesses on their 4th or 5th project. To kickstart another project is fine but if you offer it as a pre-order service as many seem to do, that makes it a store. You are ordering something from the seller, they just haven’t made it yet.

    Kickstarter need to take responsibility for the millions that people have lost on thousands of failed projects or at least make the project owner responsible They would be less likely to create unachievable goals for themselves if they had to plan for failure.

    I have backed projects with no want of a reward, I have backed projects expecting the reward offered and it has never shown up. Kickstarter should realise they are making a bad name for themselves and people are losing money because of them and their irresponsible project creators.

  2. P. H. Madore

    November 30, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    You don’t think it dis-incentivizes other companies to perform? There’s no repercussions for taking in $3 million and not delivering — shoot, we have nothing to fear if we just want $1 million. We’ll make something up. Someone will fall for it. You see where I’m going with this? I think that’s why Kickstarter went out of their way to address the community, they fear this, that I’m describing. Too many articles like this one and the backers will trickle away to a platform that looks after them.

    • John Scott-Harley

      December 18, 2015 at 6:47 pm

      Quite where’s the money gone? Zano may think they’re off the hook but they ain’t. If its proven that they have used those funds for anything else they’ll be in deep do do

  3. Optimist911

    December 2, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    So what was the source of the fail? A few technical details would seem to be in order.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Business

Overstock.com Shares Spike 17% After Chinese Private Equity Firm Pledges $270 Million for tZERO

Published

on

Shares of Overstock.com (OSTK) surged in after-hour trading Thursday after a major Chinese equity firm agreed to invest in tZERO, the blockchain subsidiary vying to reshape the investment world through a SEC-regulated alternative trading system (ATS).

GSR Capital to Invest Heavily in tZERO

CNBC confirmed on Thursday that Hong Kong-based GSR Capital will invest up to $270 million in tZero. The investment is based on a valuation of $1.5 billion, giving GSR an 18% stake in the new blockchain startup. GSR will also buy $30 million worth of tZERO security tokens.

“We are honored to have GSR Capital as a strategic investor,” said tZERO CEO Saum Noursalehi in a statement, as quoted by CNBC. “The tokenization of securities has the potential to disrupt global capital markets responsible for moving hundreds of trillions of dollars. Together with our partners, we will globalize our blockchain-based platform, bringing more efficiency, liquidity, and trust to capital markets.”

The announcement came less than six weeks after GSR Capital signed a letter of intent with Overstock to purchase $160 million worth of security tokens.

Launched in December, tZERO’s initial coin offering (ICO) has raised $134 million to finance its ATS infrastructure, which will provide a regulated venue for securities trading. The company plans to build similar systems around the world.

Despite a highly successful crowdraise, documents submitted to the SEC earlier this year revealed a target of $250 million. Independent valuations had placed tZERO’s ICO anywhere between $200 million and $500 million.

Overstock.com Spikes

Overstock.com’s share price was up by as much as 21% after-hours. It would eventually settle at $45.40 for a gain of 17.6%.

As the following chart illustrates, the OSTK price rose 4.5% in regular trading on Thursday to settle at $38.60.

Despite the gain, OSTK has been a dismal performer this year. Share prices are down 40% year-to-date, vastly under-performing the Nasdaq Composite Index, which has returned more than 14%.  What’s more, the stock is trading at less than half of its 52-week high.

Overstock’s share price has been rocked by disappointing quarterly results and the cancellation of a proposed public stock offering. Last March, the company offered four million shares of common stocks before abruptly cancelling those plans. Noursalehi said the decision to pull the offering was due to “market volatility and price.” To be sure, OSTK had declined 20% following the initial announcement to issue common stock.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

Rate this post:

Important for improving the service. Please add a comment in the comment field below explaining what you rated and why you gave it that rate. Failed Trade Recommendations should not be rated as that is considered a failure either way.
0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

4.6 stars on average, based on 544 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




Feedback or Requests?

Continue Reading

Business

A Closer Look at Boerse Stuttgart’s New Cryptocurrency Platform

Published

on

The Boerse Stuttgart group has is expanding upon past product launches to create a complete holistic ecosystem for digital assets, including cryptocurrencies. This comes on the heel of them launching the “Bison” app, which allowed users to trade cryptocurrencies with zero fees, similar in functionality to that offered by Robinhood.

The difference between Bison and Robinhood, however, is that the Boerse Stuttgart group is the second largest derivatives exchange in Germany. Another unique feature of the Bison app was its “crypto radar” feature.

This functions as a social media tool that aggregates more than 250k tweets and analyzes them to determine the “mood” of cryptocurrency investors.

Having an existing (and profitable) large financial firm expanding their brand to cryptocurrencies in any capacity reflects a market that is increasingly accepting the reality of institutional capital flowing into crypto markets.

The new ecosystem is composed of three distinct pillars. Bison represents the first of these pillars. The second is a branded platform for initial coin offerings to sell tokens. The third is a safe custody solution for digital assets.

This ecosystem, in turn, falls within Boerse Stuttgart’s so called “digitization” strategy and should serve as a bellwether of changes to come in financial markets. After all, as an established market player, Boerse Stuttgart Group has extensive knowledge in the fields of technology, regulation, and trading models respectively.

According to their own CEO Alexander Höptner, “On this basis, we can offer central services along the value chain for digital assets, all under one roof. Investors and market participants know that Boerse Stuttgart Group stands for quality, transparency, and reliability. As a Germany-based provider, we want to transpose this standard into the digital world. We will help to promote acceptance of digital assets.”

The key to their ambitions focuses on solving two major problems. The first is that KYC procedures tend to be overly complex for average investors, as well as time-consuming. The Boerse Stuttgart group’s own KYC solution allows traders to pass KYC and start trading within minutes, as opposed to more typical solutions that take a few days.

The second issue they are tackling the liquidity and accessibility of ICO tokens post-sale. They solve this by allowing tokens launched through their platform to be traded within their broader ecosystem using Bison.

According again to the CEO, “At the trading venue tokens issued via our ICO platform can be traded on the secondary market. This is an important success factor for ICOs. At the same time, we are responding to demand from both retail and institutional investors for a regulated and reliable environment for trading with cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, established cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum will also be traded.”

This approach will likely serve to establish the Boerse Stuttgart group a prime recipient of crypto-intrigued institutional capital. After all, the early bird gets the worm. A key component of this future success also rests on how well they partner with authorities.

This exact point was also emphasized recently by the CEO, who said, “In designing the strategic projects we closely cooperate with all competent boards and committees, and especially with the supervisory authorities.”

While it remains to be seen whether retail investors make use of this ecosystem, it seems reasonable to assume that larger investors will flock to a simple crypto-specific ecosystem backed by an old guard stalwart of finance.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

Rate this post:

Important for improving the service. Please add a comment in the comment field below explaining what you rated and why you gave it that rate. Failed Trade Recommendations should not be rated as that is considered a failure either way.
1 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 51 vote, average: 5.00 out of 5 (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

4.8 stars on average, based on 15 rated posts




Feedback or Requests?

Continue Reading

Altcoins

MasterCard Could Be Your Best Friend

Published

on

Since just after the financial crisis, I have been searching for a way to beat MasterCard and Visa at their own game. These two brands dominate the business of processing debit and credit card transactions.  I have always considered this duopoly as the enemy of mankind, but could turn out to be a hasty judgement.

MasterCard and Visa don’t actually process transactions as much as they offer an electronic network and charge fees for the use of their name.  They collect about 0.11% per card swipe which ain’t much until you consider they are running more than 150,000 transactions per minute through their network.  Pretty nice business to be in. All together, the two will generate about $30 billion this year.

The problem with both of these guys is that it is impossible to get around them.  If you buy something anywhere in the world with a debit or credit card, it is almost guaranteed to run on either the Visa or MasterCard network.  In which case, in addition to the 0.11% taken out for the network, the store that accepts your purchase pays anywhere from 3% to often as much as 5% in total for processing fees.  And if you travel abroad and charge something, well forget about it. Everywhere along the network are intermediaries taking their nick of your wallet.

When foreign currency transaction fees are taken into account, that is where more intermediaries are included.  That is where the costs add much higher and that is often where the consumer is hurt most.

Fighting Back

The whole idea behind blockchain technology is to make transactions of all types fast with little or no dependency on intermediaries.  All this makes MasterCard and Visa the enemy of cryptocurrency developers. But neither of these brands are sitting still applying for patents on blockchain based payments methods.

The natural reaction is to sell to sell your crypto and find some easier way to earn a decent return.  We disagree: we think there is crypto to be made from MasterCards strategy. Here is why you should be encouraged.

ome time back, MasterCard applied for a patent on blockchain technology that created a link between crypto and fiat currencies. MasterCard is not alone, as there are any number of crypto projects with the same idea.  Recently we looked at TenX and there are others.

Using TenX for comparison, MasterCard’s recently awarded patent offers to convert crypto to fiat using the existing MasterCard network.  TenX and many others plan either create their own high speed mainnet or use the Ethereum platform.

In head to head competition, this gives MasterCard a sizable advantage since MC is pretty much accepted by merchants everywhere.  As much as I hate the duopoly represented my MC and Visa, right now they could turn out to be the best thing to happen for one simple reason.  They will unquestionable accelerate mass acceptance of crypto.

Their existing network and transaction speed, immediately solves the lingering Bitcoin/Ethereum issue of scalability.  In addition as observers have pointed out, both MC and Visa have had systems in place to identify fraudulent transactions.

Having said all of this, is MasterCard going to kill all other crypto payment wanabys like TenX and others? Before concluding the answer is yes, consider this.  In their recently released quarterly review to shareholders, MasterCard reported net income of $2.33 billion on revenue of $5.24 billion. That is a whopping profit margin of 44.5%!  This towers over extraordinarily profitable companies like Apple at 20.3% or the average US corporation at less than 10%.

When MasterCard’s blockchain system goes into use, it will plump up those already MC margins. So, as a crypto investor, you have to ask yourself, do you actually think that MC will pass on those savings or wallow in the cost savings?  The answer is pretty obvious.

MasterCard Could Be The Best News

Crypto naysayers are the first to deny that Bitcoin and others are a legitimate medium of exchange.  This is based largely on the limited number of mainstream merchants that are in the crypto loop. MasterCard could help take crypto mainstream and that would be a good thing for major names like Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ether.  And with the payments processing business dealing in over $50 trillion in transactions annually, there will be room for startups offering high speed scalability at lower cost. It will not happen this year but it will happen.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

Rate this post:

Important for improving the service. Please add a comment in the comment field below explaining what you rated and why you gave it that rate. Failed Trade Recommendations should not be rated as that is considered a failure either way.
1 vote, average: 1.00 out of 51 vote, average: 1.00 out of 51 vote, average: 1.00 out of 51 vote, average: 1.00 out of 51 vote, average: 1.00 out of 5 (1 votes, average: 1.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

4.4 stars on average, based on 96 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




Feedback or Requests?

Continue Reading

5 of 15 Seats Available

Learn more here.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

A part of CCN

Hacked.com is Neutral and Unbiased

Hacked.com and its team members have pledged to reject any form of advertisement or sponsorships from 3rd parties. We will always be neutral and we strive towards a fully unbiased view on all topics. Whenever an author has a conflicting interest, that should be clearly stated in the post itself with a disclaimer. If you suspect that one of our team members are biased, please notify me immediately at jonas.borchgrevink(at)hacked.com.

Trending