Earlier this week Indiegogo’s 2nd largest crowdfunding campaign of all time announced it will shut down it’s In-Demand post campaign offer today and, if I had to guest, likely shift orders to its own site. Sondors eBike stands at $6.1 million in funding with just under 16,000 backers.
The campaign has been roiled with controversy and drama almost from the beginning. Ivars Sondors (AKA Storm Sondors) ignominiously jettisoned his partner and eBike concept creator Jon Hopp. Ivars then decided to renege on his contractual agreement with Agency 2.0, a marketing firm that can be credited for much of the campaign success. The marketing firm quickly filed a lawsuit of contractual fraud against their former client. Meanwhile the promised eBikes have been shipping to backers, albeit with a few stumbles, alleviating concerns of most who supported the crowdfunding project. Backers have even created a forum to share and discuss information on the Sondors eBike campaign – both the good and the bad.
Ivars, previously found guilty of fraud in a default judgement where he still owes almost $40,000, is on track to head to court later this year. Agency 2.0 expects to depose both Hopp and Sondors the end of August. Agency 2.0 is determined to receive the money promised for their services and are preparing to litigate vigorously in the California courts.
The whole melodrama remains a bit bizarre. Most certainly if Ivars had continued to work with Agency 2.0 the number of bikes sold would have gone higher. There is little hope he can beat the contract he willingly signed. If I had to guess, Ivars will move to settle before a judge and jury are convened. Trial by jury is not an enjoyable thing and is certainly a costly experience. The discount eBike concept has merit but the swirling legal controversy may imperil the Sondors eBike business from going much further. There is probably a lot more to this story but one must wonder what motivated Sondors to embrace all of the challenges he now faces, instead of just focusing on building a solid business based on trust and transparency.
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