A very few people remembers the Robotic Dragonfly, a little drone which was a success story of crowdfunding in early days. In 2012 over $1 million pledges were placed in Indiegogo. It was the first time gadgets raised more than $1 million by crowd funding. The target of the project was to build a small robot which can fly like a bird or maybe an insect, and you can get it for $99. The sad news is that the robot is not taking off according to its schedule.
Yesterday, the company told us about its financial problems, but according to founders it is not their fault. They are saying that it is PayPal and Indiegogo’s fault as they did not release the funds, but the company did not clarify about the amount of the fund.
This failure is not the fault of crowdfunded gadgets and this is not the first crowdfunded gadget that failed to keep its promise. Before Techject, Pirate3D said that they would provide us with an easy to use and a cheap 3D printer, but before fulfilling that promise they ran out of cash.
Techject failed to complete developing the Robot Dragonfly although the project first hit Indiegogo almost three years ago. The page of Indiegogo states that the project development began in early 2012 by the $1 million granted by the US Air Force, the page also says that “We do not want users to wait for the technology to dribble down”.
Today the company cleared the air by stating that they just need more money to complete developing the project. The company also said that if they somehow fail to launch the product, they will release the entire Dragonfly’s IP with full license authority to campaign backers for use and sale, and they want to recover from their loss.
Although the Robot Dragonfly seemed a very far-fetched technology, but we visited the Georgia Tech lab where the technology was invented. The problem is that good engineers do not always get good founders, it takes a specialized team to take a product from CAD drawings put it in our hands.
This is just an example for the customers; they need to very careful with these crowd funded companies because there are no guarantees that they would successfully develop the product and launch it in the market, there are certain risks involved. The Robot Dragonfly was financed in 2012, but it was not able to keep its promise and over the years many similar projects have popped up with wild promises which they could not keep. With this, we can conclude that Robot Dragonfly will not be the last gadget to take a dive in the crowd funding deadpool.