The Kreyos debacle shows the consumer that they should never depend on a smartwatch that has not yet been tested in the market.
Based out of San Francisco in California, Kreyos was a small electronics company that made an attempt at producing a smartwatch called the Meteor. Starting in June of 2013, they raised USD$1.5 million in under three months through the crowd funding platform, Indiegogo. The intent was to use those donated funds to finish production of a superior smartwatch and have it ready to ship by the very beginning of 2014.
In November of that same year, Kreyos announced that there would be a delay, citing a problem with the quality of the speaker. This caused the delivery date to be pushed from January to February 2014. On 22 January, Kreyos announced another delay - they were going to be stalling delivery until April. The cause for this delay was blamed on an echoing issue that had surfaced during the late stages of testing the hardware. On 11 February, they advised their their backers that the issue had been resolved and all of the senior management team were actively involved in overseeing production.
Some of the backers began demanding refunds at this point, and Kreyos responded by offering all of those who stayed with the project a limited edition belt clip and 40% off the Meteor 2 smartwatch, even though the Meteor had not yet been completed.
In March, the company released a video that showed the smartwatch using an Android OS to interact with Google Now, but the next month they announced another delay due to a delivery issue with the new components for the speaker. The next delay was reported on 16 May, when a storm flooded the manufacturing facility in Guangdong Province, China.
Finally, by the end of May, Kreyos was able to begin shipping units to the United States to be distributed first to the initial backers who had continued to stand by the company.
It took until the beginning of August for those initial 5,000 smartwatches to make it to the United States and delivered to those who had contributed to the crowd funding event. With those initial watches there were reports that neither the iOS or Android app were working properly, and would disconnect from the phone or not connect at all.
The fall of Kreyos
In September of 2014 the owner of Kreyos, Steve Boon Kiat Tan, issued a statement stating that the company was now bankrupt and would close production without issuing any more of their smartwatches. He claimed he and his team only had marketing experience and that the money had been handed over to a third party for production of the smartwatch.
He went on to assert that it was this other company which had failed to meet projected goals and that this was a deliberate effort on their part to defraud Kreyos and their backers. According to Tan, this manufacturing company, based in China, used the concept and money to create a turnkey solution for smartwatches that other companies could easily integrate.
For those few who did receive the Kreyos smartwatch, it was virtually useless. This is of course little comfort to the rest of the backers who never received their watch or their money back. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that crowd funding did not produce the results promised.
The moral of this story? While crowd funding projects can sound amazing, and provide that ‘kick’ a startup needs to become great, you shoudl still be wary before investing your money into a product. Make sure you check its reliability and integrity. As Kreyos showed the world, not everything is as it seems on the internet.