Sadly the successfully crowdfunded Kickstarter project, the AXSY slider at this stage will not see light of day.
We reached out for answers, and received a message from one of the slider’s backers (name withheld).
We were looking forward to seeing the AXSY slider out there in the wild and are sorry to see it fold.
Here is the apparent reason for the AXSY slider not going ahead.
This is unfortunately not going to be an enjoyable update.
We currently have no way to move forward. We are in a situation where the rest of the funds we have left will need to be used to have the smartphone apps completed to make any more progress. In fact the current funds we have left might not even be able to get the app completed on one operating system (i.e. iOS or Android).
How did we get here?
We received around €60,000 in funding after kickstarters fees were taken off. A few days before our campaign finished on kickstarter, we had to make a hard decision on whether to cancel the kickstarter before the end due to the low amount of funding we had received so far. In fact I personally had already decided to cancel the campaign. Then in the last few days we received a much larger number of backers which forced us to reevaluate the situation. We did some calculations on how much we would require if we changed a few things and we came to around £50,000 but we also would have needed a number of preorders from our website before production started. In the four and a bit months since our kickstarter campaign ended we received many emails and messages telling us our product is awesome that they can’t wait to purchase when it is out, yet we received only a single preorder. This means we have no cash flow whatsoever. We have done everything we can to try and change this but have not succeeded. People are not willing to make preorders.
Increase in Production Costs
Not only do we have no cash flow but also the cost of our products have increased roughly 50% since our kickstarter campaign. These increase in cost has been because of the design problems we had to solve. The products are still completely viable from profit margins etc. but this 50% in cost means an increase of production cost by 50% which is a very large amount of money.
The final nail in coffin was the app development cost. As we do not have an in-house app development team we had to find an external team. We found a highly competent local app development studio who, after reading through our highly detailed app spec doc, agreed that they could probably complete the project for around €20,000. We knew we could get it completed for less by a studio based in India or China but we wanted to reduce our risk to a minimum and guarantee we would receive a stable, well documented, high quality app. After the kickstarter campaign ended we went to the app studio to discuss the app further to find out what there development process would be. After discussing the project again with them, they increased their price to €40,000. There was no way we could have expected such an enormous jump in the cost of the app. After spending some more time refining the app we found that we could get this cost down some more but it would still be outside our budget.
Around this time we found that we could apply for a government grant for €15,000 specifically for technological products. We went through a lengthy, and often very stressful, pre screen process for this but succeed in being sent to the final stage. This process was supposed to take a week but ended up taking a month as the person who was responsible went on holiday for 3 weeks. Then the final stage which was supposed to take 3 weeks in fact took 4 months. They decided to decline us 4 months later because it was a software project (i.e. the cost of the app) and they do not cover software. This is no explicitly stated anywhere and was never told to us, even during the prescreening process.
Where are we now?
All of these things combined have put us in a situation where, to move forward we need a significant amount of extra funding. To be able to move forward and get funding we need the app completed and to get the app completed we need to spend the rest of our funds. I am personally not morally comfortable spending the rest of these funds in the hope that we will find this funding later on. This would not be fair on you, our backers.
We spent the last month reaching out to our biggest competitors to try and make an agreement on them taking over the project and shipping the devices to our backers. Although they were interested in the products and sympathetic to our situation, none had the resources available in the near future to be able to take on a project of this size. We contacted as many people as possible about investment/funding options but without the smartphone app completed, this is not a realistic option right now.
How do we move forward?
We have roughly 40% of the funds left from the project and we will be distributing these funds back to all backers of the devices by percentage based on the amount of backing. We will need your Paypal account address to be able to do this. If we did not do this now, there would be a high chance we would be refunding 0% which is why we have been forced to make this decision now.
We have been in contact with the company Cinetics who have a similar set of motion control products to ours. They have agreed to offer a one time 25% discount to our backers. We will work this out with them over the next couple of weeks. In the mean time, if you would like this discount we will need confirmation from you that we can provide Cinetics with your name.
We are extremely sorry
I cannot say enough how sorry I am. I know all of you are going to be extremely angry about this. I certainly made some mistakes and misjudgements during the project but not everything was within my control. I personally take any responsibility for the mistakes that were made though. If we had received an amount of funding that was inline with the other similar projects on kickstarter we would not be in this situation right now. I believe there were two main reason for receiving such little funding compared to other similar projects. Firstly our project was based in pounds sterling which means we were cutoff from the US market which is by far the biggest. Unfortunately it seems to be that projects in currencies other than $USD do not receive any where near the same amount of funding. Secondly, the photography/film community are extremely brand loyal and starting out as a small, unknown hardware company is an uphill battle (unfortunately we have likely made this more so now).
I know from experience from kickstarters I have backed, when projects go bad/fail things can get pretty nasty. All I can humbly ask of you is to please not try and ruin my or any of my colleagues lives. At every stage I have made a good faith effort to do what is best for you, the backers. I fully understand this is not an insignificant amount of money that is being discussed. I personally have lost over €100,000 and over 6000 hours of work on this project, and I have put my personal life through extreme hardship. It is soul destroying to have to write this update knowing that even after all of this, I have failed you and I have failed myself.
Founder of AXSY
Again sorry to see this project go under. Would be nice for the sake of the AXSY slider, Paul, and the Kickstarter backers if another manufacturer were to see new life into this project.