California-based company Arkami, Inc. launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in February 2013 to raise funds for its innovative product myIDkey and raised close to $475,000 from over 3,900 backers by its closing on March 22, 2013.
myIDkey is is a voice-activated, fingerprint secure Bluetooth / USB Drive that displays passwords and personal info online and on the go. The project was a huge hit and even its prototype had won several awards at the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show. It also received another $2 million in startup capital.
Although the delivery of the finished product was supposed to be September 2013, Arkami and its product been the topic of complaints. According to Ars Technica, only a small number of myIDkeys have actually been shipped, and numerous backers who had received the gadgets complained about failing buttons and freezing displays. In the end, all $3.4 million was spent without the promised product.
Soon after the campaign came to end, the company began to face major struggles with the product development and was forced to some things due to the prototype being “woefully insufficient.” On July 4, 2013, the project’s organized sent an updated stating, “In building a breakthrough device, we’ve faced engineering challenges. These were all changes we had to make to deliver the functionality promised and to meet the production schedule.”
The Arkami team also noted, “’It’s way too #$#@^$& long,’ ‘That’s unacceptable!!’ ‘Forget the feature creep, keep it small.’ Painfully, we could visualize all your comments. We agree! So our phenomenal electric engineering team has been working overtime to solve this dilemma.
For months, Arkami continued to add more features, including the ability to scroll the screen. The team also released apps for iOS and Android to go with the myIDkey. Unfortunately the changes with the product and supplier hasn’t made it completely functional. Continuing to update the backers, the team noted a few myIDkey shipped in April 2014. The company’s CEO Benjamin Chen admitted the great majority of the project’s backers have yet to receive the finished product.
Chen also sent a private update on June 17th, also revealed all of the company’s funding resources have been used due to the “investor synidicate could not agree on financing terms” and that he was forced to lay off the entire company, including himself. “I told the team that I would immediately focus my effots to try and find additional capital from new investors and/or find a strategic partner for us.”
He then noted that the company is “not dead yet but in deep hibernation.”
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