Remember that great new Google Glass competitor you were excited about? (See Techli’s write-up here.) They received so much attention last week, including mentions in more than 200 media outlets, they have elected to pull their Indiegogo campaign just six days after launching. Their announcement cited that they are working on a deal with a group of private investors and the funds from their crowdfunding campaign are no longer necessary.
While Laforge didn’t reveal the amount of those funds, one can imagine the final deal will be in excess of the $80,000 they were seeking through Indiegogo. Of course, anyone who backed the campaign will receive a refund as well as access to special pricing when they start taking pre-orders. They’ll also receive a better product within the same timeline.
Corey Mack, founder of Laforge, told Techli more about the improvements, stating, “For the Icis Early Beta Kit, we will be able to make more available. Also, the designs we are releasing will be more refined. They won’t necessarily be the black “hipster” frames showcased in the Indiegogo campaign. We are looking to release designs that are more minimalistic and elegant. Also, the frames will use less plastic and be constructed of different materials, like titanium.”
He didn’t forget about the developer’s kit either. They’re planning to add more sensors, including a 3-axis sensor along with a different microphone and camera sensors. While this wasn’t exactly good timing on their part, it does appear that the product will be better for it in the end, which Mack stressed was one of the reasons for pulling the campaign.
“We also want to get the bill across that the investment deal was not the only reason we pulled the campaign,” said Mack. “We wanted to make the message clear that we were listening to our supporters. Feedback suggested that people wanted more refinement, and something closer to a finished product, so we decided to take the steps necessary to do that.”
This wasn’t the first time the Laforge team has been approached by investors, either, but it was the first time a deal felt right. “We wanted to find an investor that shared our vision, and would be a good match for the Laforge brand,” said Mack. “It was merely coincidental that an offer came up during the Indiegogo campaign.”
In the end, it was all about the consumer… “We went with investors because we want to continually exceed our backers’ and supporters’ expectations,” said Mack. “The deal we have in the works is many times in excess of what we felt we would generate through the crowdfunding effort. This increase in funding will allow us to accelerate our efforts to bringing our supporters a better product.”
After such a wildly successful public relations campaign, the effort didn’t quite generate overnight funding success. But, they did manage to reach about half of their goal in less than a week.
As far as why Laforge has been successful, Mack attributed it to having great supporters and an “awesome team.” He shared some advice for other startup entrepreneurs, too. “When you have synergy within your company, things can happen fast,” he said. “Let people do what they do best and put them in positions to succeed. You have to have some sense of camaraderie, and when you can get a team on the same page, chasing after the same vision, anything is possible.”
What do you think of their decision to pull their campaign? Was it the smart move?