Simply said I have become quite disenchanted with the “pay me now” get you stuff later (maybe) sales model many innovation companies have taken. I will not be the first, but I am here to say- “No one gets my money until I get my wheel(s)!” Ryno, Elio, Inventist and so on have taken advantage of the crowd funding craze and used it to raise capital for development, research and infrastructure setup. The public is taking on the financial risk, and effectively tying up its money where venture capitalists have traditionally invested their cash. However, unlike the venture capitalists the public will never see great reward for assuming great risk- instead the best they can hope for is delivery of their product. Yep, it might have a special edition color or badge the individual “investor” can brag about but this is a high cost for such high risk. I will not be part of this public “investment crowd”.
I am certain that sometime in the near future the US Fair Trade Commission will step in and nip this flourishing branch of the financial tree. Not soon enough I say though. By plopping down your hard earned cash through a “deposit” or Kickstarter pledge” you are given few guarantees. The fine print is quite clouded and enforcement of terms lax. Simply put, the fuzziness of what you get for your deposit or pledge is nothing more that a thank you and addition to a mailing list. The updates you are given as an “early adopter” are marketing driven propaganda that would never pass the stringent requirements a true publicly held company is held to by the securities and exchange commission (SEC). In other words- they can say just about anything they want.
I bit my tongue wanting to give examples I’ve experienced being a pledger and deposit provider for various things that still have not seen the showroom floor or reached a single consumer. I’ve pulled all of my deposits and unsubscribed from the emails. In many cases the task of doing this was so difficult I needed to track down the head of the company to get this accomplished. It was so contentious I have pledged these companies will never receive a single dollar of my money and I will not support their products. For the others, I make no promises, no pledges, no investment in your dream- I only offer a tidbit of advice: Don’t upset your customers before they even truly become a product owning customer. If you want to have me as a customer please be patient and wait until you deliver your amazing product to my hands that are still warm from handing over my hard earned cash.