Why one product destroyed my faith in Crowd Funding

Over the years I’ve invested in a few products from crowd funding websites, both Indiegogo and Kickstarter. And, although the end products have been variable in their use, I still turned to these sites for great new ideas and ways to invest to get them to market.

But the thing is, as I suspect is the case for a lot of people, I assumed my invested money was safe. It isn’t. And recent collapses of invested projects, losing all of the money that people have contributed, has brought home to me just how much you’re gambling. And the problem is I’m not a gambler.

Personally, what turned me away from Crowd Funding was one product that I invested in – GOkey. It’s aims were fantastic – to produce a key ring gadget that would do all of the following…

  • Bluetooth and GPS tracking of your keys
  • And if you lose your phone, press the GOkey and it will make your phone ring!
  • A matching smartphone app for file management and tracking
  • In-built battery so that you can connect it to charge your phone. Shake it to see the battery level
  • Use it to connect your phone to your computer
  • Built in memory
  • All of this via USB 3

It sounded great, so I invested. As did a lot of people. Indeed, it raised 2581% of its funding target. That’s over $1.2 million.

Great, eh?

But that was 2 years ago and I still don’t have my GOkey. Oh, it’s due. A number of months away – apparently – but still due.

And this project has learnt the hard way what happens with technology if you take your time with it – it moves on.  The memory they offered is no longer a decent amount and the connection – micro USB and the old-style of Apple connector – is out-of-date. To their credit they’ve done something about it, offering investors alternative connections and increased the amount of memory but all this has done has delayed it even further. Indeed, looking at the Indiegogo page the person behind the GOkey seems to spend more of his time dealing with investors, not just those complaining about the delays, but those who’ve changed email and/or postal address.

It’s all quite depressing. It wasn’t particularly cheap but I was excited by what it featured. Now I just want for something – anything – to turn up. And, if it’s anything like Pressy, then it could be a lot of crap.

I’ll leave the last word to a single line in the product’s FAQ…

Estimated national and international shipping is Q3 2015

8 responses

  1. I was just about to write a very similar piece myself, so am glad to find this one. I too wont be putting money into anyones pot again in the future. GoKEY has been an utter joke. So much has changed, its almost an out of date product now.

  2. I agree that crowdfunding is a matter of faith 😀
    I backed a Chromecast-like key, made in Firefox OS and it get funded then discarded (I got my money back)…
    I backed some games and they get funded and delivered…
    Crowdfunding is still a great mean for interesting projects to get created.
    But there is also a lot of bullshit (remember the man with a potato salad or something like this ?
    As long as you can have your money back…

    1. Crowdfunding, in my eyes, does absolutely work… until it goes wrong. In your case I’d say you’ve been lucky, getting your money back. But they come with no guarantees. They can raise their money, invest it in their own wages and developing a product, run out of money and walk away with no give-back to those invested (and there are lots of examples of this happening). Or, possibly worse, in this case, they can string you out ad-infinitum, with no end to the delay in sight.

      For me, crowdfunding is for the gambler. And that’s not me.

  3. Augusto Gerialte. avatar
    Augusto Gerialte.

    06Th April 2017. 3 year after Gokey Crowdfunfding campaign, backers are still waiting for the product. It is still not finnished and Doros kiriakoulis is not able to honor promised refunds

  4. […] Last year I wrote about how a single product, the GoKey, had made me give up on crowd funding websites. Badly delayed, something always seemed to come up when the deadline was imminent. However, it all appeared to be moving on and only a couple of weeks ago all the backers received an email so we could provide final confirmation details of our product requirements (for example, my phone connection has changed, twice, since originally backing the product, so I needed a different connector on the GoKey). […]

  5. Doros claims to be shutting down the operation and filing for bankruptcy. He scammed us all.

  6. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    You are a prophet…

    Dear Backers:
    I sincerely regret to inform you that GoKey lacks the funds to complete the delivery of a viable product. We ran into technical difficulties that we could not resolve. There are no funds left to cover claims of suppliers and others or to offer refunds. I have been exploring all avenues to raise additional funds so that we could complete and deliver the product, but we have been unsuccessful.
    I honestly fought with all I had to do good at the end. Tried so hard to raise a round or form a partnership to deliver. And there have been times where a deal was looking 100% certain. But the age of the product, the liability and the negative cloud hanging over it always prevailed.
    I am left with no alternative but to completely cease and shut down all operations and activities and consider filling for bankruptcy.
    I feel terribly shameful for letting you down.
    I am sorry,

    What do you think?

    Doros K
    San Francisco, United States

    $1,216,280 USD total funds raised
    2581% funded on July 4, 2014

  7. Brendan avatar

    As you might already know, this project was cancelled on the 15th April. 2 weeks ago he said he will be shipping in 2 weeks. Backers are calling it an elaborate scam and are asking for detailed financials about how the money was spent. I have also lost faith in crowd funding. Here is a page by boxunfolded, a company who built the GOkey MVP (minimum viable product) They had it completed in 3 months. http://boxunfolded.com/work/gokey/ So that raises the question, what the hell has Doros been doing with all the cash and the last 18 months after the MVP was complete?

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