Coolest Cooler Not So Cool as Project Runs Short of Cash

Coolest Delayed

In a backer update emailed to supporters yesterday, the second most funded Kickstarter campaign delivered some disturbing news. In brief, Coolest Cooler has ran out of cash.

Ryan GrepperThe email, signed by Coolest Creator Ryan Grepper, danced around the subject a bit. Grepper stated;

“However, this update is letting you know that unfortunately there will be further delays for some of you.  We are in the process of identifying the right partner who can provide the capital and strategic resources to fund the remaining production of backer rewards and help grow the company to the next level. We’re not quite there yet, but it is moving forward.”

Grepper sadly admitted the cost of creating the Coolest Cooler surpassed the price charged to backers of the Kickstarter campaign. An unfortunate conundrum for the young business;

“That reality was known last year, but we forged ahead. We were confident in our company and the market for premium quality coolers, which had absolutely exploded. We knew that the Kickstarter funds, in the end, would not cover the actual cost of fulfilling all the backer orders (see below for a detailed financial breakdown), but with such huge interest we knew we would find a way to help us finish the process and grow as a company.”  [emphasis added]

Coolest Cooler Funding Gap

Grepper explained that while the campaign raised well over $13 million (from 62,642 backers), after Kickstarter got their cut, transactional fees, development, people and operations dropped the cash down to $7.4 million.  This amount is not sufficient to complete manufacturing and shipping to the thousands of backers who remain Cooler-less.

Amazon Launchpad Review Coolest CoolerIt appears expectations of retail success on Amazon Launchpad was a bit of a disaster.  Grepper hoped to subsidize early sales with new purchases;

“there was so much confusion and misinformation among the backer community that over 100 people placed negative or fake reviews on Amazon, which ultimately had a detrimental effect on demand.  Ironically, those voices hurt our very ability to get everyone their Coolests faster.”

So where does the Coolest Cooler go from here? Good question.

This Train is LateGrepper is in need of a partner and one with deeper pockets than his own;

“The process is well underway to find the best partner, and then ramp up production and get every backer his or her Coolest as soon as possible. However, at this point, we can’t estimate exactly when this will happen.”

When we broke the (2nd) Coolest Cooler campaign we had no idea it would become such an unexpected crowdfunding success. This was do largely in part to Grepper’s drive and determination to succeed where he had failed previously.  So don’t count Grepper out – yet.

He is holding a Hangout next week on Wednesday (March 2nd @ 12Noon PT). He will probably receive an earfull but, as always, crowdfunding campaigns must maintain communication and transparency with early supporters. Hopefully he will have more positive news this coming week.

Coolest Cooler Number One on KickstarterAs for backers, a quick trip to Kickstarter comment alley and, as one would expect, people are disappointed;

I guess we finally see the truth. They need more money to complete the project, which they will never get. I requested a refund and was told to fill out a form, and they would address my refund request just prior to my cooler shipping. WTF??
Is there a nicer way to say “F*** off”?
just checked Amazon and they are in stock ready to ship! Why are you screwing over your original backers and putting Amazon customers to the front of the line? THIS IS TOTALLY A FAILED PROJECT. I guess I am out my investment plus no cooler. Beware of the BS this is a dead product.
I don’t understand how he asked for $50,000, received $11 million, and it’s a fail?
I have been waiting 2 years and I was one of the initial backers (BEFORE YOU REACHED YOUR GOAL). I was so excited about this project and now I wonder seriously if I am ever going to get it.
I hope I do but I have my doubts. Never ever again, sorry Kickstarter.

Ben Franklin Close Up 100 hundred money dollarsThere are plenty more statements from backers, both supportive and negative. Comments number over 15 thousand..

The challenges of the Coolest Cooler project highlights a nagging issue with rewards based crowdfunding campaigns. Too frequently overly-optimistic presentations are sunk by the reality of management and insufficient cash. Yes, there have been plenty of very successful rewards based campaigns that have launched new products and businesses. Just look at the Pebble Watch. But there have been many that have failed.

Update: Kickstarter points out that just 9% of funded projects on the Kickstarter platform fail to deliver rewards so an edit has been made.


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  • fruvous

    I wonder if we will ever see Kickstarter chime in on this.

    • crowdfundinsider

      I doubt it. But certainly it is a subject of discussion at HQ in Brooklyn. It does not benefit them to have a high profile campaign sputter.

      JD

  • Random non-partisan voter

    In the end you are risking your money as a KS backer. This is one of those times when the vast majority of people were fist time backers and quite likely didn’t know what they were potentially getting into. This is the reason I typically won’t back projects that require a lot of tech/engineering. Too many things to go wrong all being juggled by amateur entrepreneurs.

    • Garnet

      I purchased a Robo3D printer off Kickstarter, pretty technical item, got it on time, works great, totally good experience.

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  • Brad Renner

    This should be reported, even though The Coolest, LLC claims you can get a refund if you are a KickStarter backer they stipulate you won’t get a refund until your Cooler is ready to ship. And since they’ll probably never ship anymore Coolers they have effectively refused to offer refunds. This is not being reported & this is illegal per the FTC regulations (here: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/business-guide-ftcs-mail-internet-or-telephone-order)! I have been trying to get a refund for over two days now and they won’t do it. I have all the correspondence with the Coolest via email, social media (Twitter messages, Facebook posts, ect…). Someone should write this story! The company is going under & refuse to issue refunds! The biggest KickStarter of all time is about to be the biggest bust of all time…

  • The problem is that Ryan spent way too much time and money playing with the design. I’m guessing he’s a bit of a perfectionist, which is great and all, but in this instance it cost him big time. On top of not even considering the cost to make these PLUS ship them when deciding how much to charge backers. If he’d charged even just $40 more per cooler I bet he’d have enough money to finish these. I was a backer but my wife felt pity on me and purchased one through Amazon for me over Christmas. Let me say, the cooler is absolutely fantastic and should be a huge hit. The attention to detail and packaging reminded alot of how Apple puts their products together. I feel for all of us who are out a pretty big chunk of money but the thing is, people SHOULD know this going in. You are not guaranteed a product. Most likely you will get one but sometimes not. I have no doubt that I will never receive my cooler from this kickstarter campaign. Which really sucks.

  • Good luck to everyone–thanks for the update.

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  • Travis Symonds

    Ryan Grepper,

    This whole Coolest pay more to get it sooner is BEYOND A JOKE.

    I paid $285USD almost two years ago to have the item between 1-2 years ago, and now you are suggesting I pay more to get it sooner? You have to be $%^&ing kidding me.

    Backer number: 52754

    Amount Pledged: $285USD

    I want that refunded NOW….Not a week or two before an imaginary shipment date that will never happen, NOW!

    Regards,

    Pissed off backer!

  • Snake Plissken

    Spending $2.4 million to develop this product is obscene.

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  • I hope it never comes into existence. Every person who backed it is a moron.

  • Alpha Arts

    This goes to prove another point i made over on reddit last year. You guys give these people millions of dollars for R&D and Production for a product that doesn’t need anywhere near that money for it, then get mad when you find out they are scamming you. It should be common sense to realize they are asking for too much.

    And when i tried to crowdfund a video game at $20,000 (I would do the vast majority of stuff myself – Thanks to the game engine i would be using) the game in question could of easily made in the high 10s of millions, and i would of used that money to efficiently ( > $500k Max / Product) R&D Next Generation Technology Products and i would of sold those new products at such a competitive price, every single fucking company would have to lower there’s or risk bankruptcy…. Buuuutttt i was told to basically f-off with the whole 20k for a AAA Quality game. So i guess i’m having the last laugh once again for the, what, 5th time now? lmao.

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