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).
This morning I had an email.
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.
The company had burned through all the money and now had nothing left to provide us all with the final product.
This was a project that wanted just $40K originally but managed to raise $1.2 million. With the project now dead and no refunds available, people are out-of-pocket anything from $69 to the one person who paid $1150. The most popular version of the product was the $79 model, which I also paid an extra $10 for international shipping. It was funded in July 2014, nearly 3 years ago.
For most of the time Doros K, the person behind the product, was quiet with only the occasional update. But as time went on people became more and more frustrated at the delays, particularly as the technology in the product was becoming obsolete – even the built-in memory was no longer sufficient – and alternative products came on the market to do similar things.
There was talk a few months ago of beta testers with an anonymous video apparently evidence that this was happening…
There have also been images of large numbers of mouldings of the product.
Only 11 days ago Doro was still providing updates to backers, with no hint that the product was not going to be delivered. However, he also provided the following update to one backer which, with hindsight, may give hint to what was to come…
1,2 million are a lot of money to most people but when you count in all expenses like salaries for electrical, firmware, hardware, test engineers, iOS and Android developers, tooling, prototyping, outsourced services, molds, certifications, patents, materials one can see that the funds are actually barely enough.
Since the email today there are a LOT of angry people commenting on IndieGoGo about this. However, some of the information is intriguing.
so is arrow electronics no longer a partner on this? noticed their logo is now gone. I wonder if it’s because I sent them an email asking for an update and they realized you were using their name to scam folks?
It would appear one of the technology partners for this product is no longer mentioned. Whether backing away from what could be seen as bad PR for them or, simply, that they never were involved, we may never know.
But one thing is for certain – Doros is either incompetent on a massive scale or a scammer. We’ll never know if he just pocked the £1.2 million or whether he was genuinely given 26 times what he wanted and still managed to waste it. I certainly cannot believe that until 11 days ago he still thought the product was going to ship (what happened in the last 11 days that would have taken his budget from an ability to finish this to where he couldn’t?). Maybe the reality is somewhere in the middle – part incompetence and part scam. One thing is for sure, I would never recommend dealing with him again.
I am not a crook. I tried until the very end to get the funds and deliver. Up until the last update things were moving forward and looked like they will work out. Production was lined up. I honestly tried. I never wanted to scam you. I wanted to make good.
“I never wanted to scam you”. His words. Not “I didn’t scam you”.
On top of this Doros is updating his online presence, removing his photo (and that includes the one for IndieGoGo) and even removing himself entirely, such as on Twitter. So, we don’t forget, Doros K is Doros Kiriakoulis, Polydoros Kiriakoulis and Doros Kyriakoulis. Here are some photos of him…
Additionally, further details can be found on the patent he filed.
He also did an interview, which is interesting, particularly where he reveals he did this with no up-front money…