There was a brief period in crowdfunding history where 3D Printers were quite the rage. Thousands of backers pumped millions of dollars into all sorts of iterations of the now ubiquitous 3D printers. Of course today the sector is intensely competitive. Just hop on over to Amazon and check out the many different options and manufacturers. But back in the day, crowdfunding was, perhaps, the best option to quickly receive an affordable 3D printer.
Tiko 3D is one of these stories. Launching a pre-sale campaign on Kickstarter in early 2015, Tiko 3D collected over $2.9 million from 16,538 backers. In fact, Tiko 3D is the 2nd most funded 3D printer on Kickstarter ever. The well-structured crowdfunding campaign showed a timeline with production assembly commencing in November of 2015. First units to backers were to commence the same month with the bulk delivering in following months.
Lurch forward to 2017 and it appears that most backers have yet to receive their Tiko 3D. While some have shipped, questions on quality and function have plagued the project. Even worse, it appears that Tiko has run out of money. So is Tiko 3D poised to become the next Zano like Kickstarter failure?
This month, Tiko responded to a post referencing a comment about the Tiko on Reddit stating;
“Ran out of money, didn’t tell us until our first day. Delusional CEO.”
Responding with a “sigh” Tiko 3D admitted the company was under duress;
Sigh. It’s not that simple. But yes, we had to make some hard choices to cut our burn rate. We had to let a lot of people go, including a number of interns who were supposed to start in January. It was the hardest decision of our lives.
We know we screwed up, but we’re just trying to get back on track, and we are making progress. We actually have plans for additional batches regardless of any investment, but if this devolves into chaos and people panic, then we are as good as finished, and nobody will gain a thing from it.
So, where do you guys want to go from here?
As one may expect, backer comments have ranged from demanding refunds to generic frustration to understanding support. For backers, it doesn’t look too good for this Kickstarter Staff Pick.
The Tiko 3D team stated early last week they were working with a “variety of advisors and stakeholders to lay some groundwork for the formal update.” Ominously Tiko stated they were “quite ready to face the music.” If Tiko collapses it won’t be the first nor last crowdfunded company to have the wheels fall off due to mismanagement or lack of foresight (and not enough money).
So will Tiko 3D survive?
Probably not. But Tiko has committed to making a formal announcement on Wednesday the 22nd. Let’s wait and see what they have to say.
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