F-Stop Gear has announced that KitSentry, the bag it sought (and successfully raised) funding for on Kickstarter, will not be brought to market. The notice, which was posted as the final update for Kickstarter backers on Sunday, details various production issues and expenses that ultimately made KitSentry less than ‘economically viable.’ The company’s explanation is at odds with a report published in a recent investigative article by Resource Magazine, however, where an insider claims the Kickstarter campaign ‘was a sham from the beginning.’
The Kickstarter campaign launched on February 23, 2015 and sought funds for KitSentry, a product F-Stop described as ‘the next generation smart bag.’ The campaign was reached its goal on March 3, 2015 and ultimately raised $27,039 by its end. The first sign of trouble arose with an August 2015 update in which F-Stop said it would be pushing back all of its deadlines by three or four months. By the time its April 2016 update was posted, backers were agitated and many were demanding refunds.
In the final update posted yesterday, F-Stop cited ‘two big problems’ it couldn’t overcome: trouble getting around existing patents and higher than anticipated production costs. ‘While we may have been able to overcome one of the obstacles,’ the post explains, ‘the two combined have proven to be too much at this time. Even after the additional investment of time and money, it has become obvious that KitSentry is not economically viable.’
It doesn’t appear backers will be refunded, with F-Stop instead offering ‘a goodwill credit toward any f-stop product, equal to the amount pledged on Kickstarter.’
Earlier this month, however, Resource Magazine published an article detailing the troubled campaign and a conversation the piece’s author Jaron Schneider had with a contact he said he ‘greatly’ trusts. That source claimed, in part, that F-Stop’s CEO has been hemorrhaging company money with a lavish personal lifestyle, unsustainable projects, premature promises and mismanagement.
Among other things, the source stated:
In regards to the KitSentry Kickstarter, it was a sham from the beginning. A former colleague of the CEO apparently ‘stole’ an idea the CEO had and was trying to execute KitSentry in some form or another. Once that former colleague started creating public info about that product, the CEO got spooked and forced his now-former marketing team to create a Kickstarter campaign to raise funding for a half-baked product. Once the funding was raised, he transferred all the funds to himself, leaving nothing to the actual development team to spend on creating KitSentry itself.