Delays Take the Shine off Crowd-Funded Wearables

Wearables Crowd-Funding Projects Continue to Overpromise and Underdeliver

In 2014, I noted that crowd-funded wearables projects were struggling to deliver products on time (see Blog: Crowd-Funded Projects Struggle to Hit Deadlines). These delays were most commonly the result of unexpected problems in product development and an underestimation of the time needed for testing and certification. I argued that more realistic targets would benefit the credibility of the companies and the reputation of crowd-funding platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter.

The situation hasn’t improved over a year later, with several successfully funded wearables due to be delivered in “summer 2015” or 3Q15 having slipped into the fourth quarter and beyond. These include the Atlas weightlifting watch, Bragi Dash headphones and Mota SmartRing, all detailed at the end of this article. But the list goes on, with the Aurora dreams headband, the Ca7ch Lightbox lifelogging camera, the Everykey authentication band, the Panono 360-degree camera, the Skully smart helmet and the Wearality Sky virtual reality headset all failing to keep time. The AmpStrip activity tracker, which achieved its funding goal and was scheduled to ship in 2Q15, has been dropped for consumer use altogether as the firm changes its focus to medical applications of the product.

The broken promises made by crowd-funded wearables campaigns are symptomatic of project owners and backers getting caught up in enthusiasm for the products. Ventures suffer “unforeseen” setbacks as deadlines approach, causing schedules to slip and companies to issue apologetic updates.

However, Indiegogo and Kickstarter are quick to remind users that they are “not a store“, and emphasise that backers are not buying a product but contributing to the project’s mission and development.

It’s often difficult for supporters to accept that they might not receive a reward they’ve “paid for” within the promised time, and the comments section of any delayed campaign displays a long list of backers venting their frustration. They’re often left in the dark with sparse updates from the project owners, resulting in many demanding their money back.

Most campaigns set out to deliver products according to their original timetable, but often lack the experience to calculate realistic schedules. Kickstarter recently released new rules for campaigning companies, advising them to “underpromise and overdeliver” to manage expectations.

However, I believe the advice alone is not enough. The current situation could result in long-term damage for sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter, causing backers to lose faith and future projects to struggle for support. Without more stringent rules from funding sites, realistic goal-setting and more transparency between companies and backers for the duration of campaigns, this exciting platform for innovation might start to wither.


Atlas on Indiegogo
Clams to accurately track weightlifting exercises
Funding period: January 2014 to March 2014
Total raised: $637,282
Original shipping date: April 2015 (delayed to 4Q15)


Bragi Dash on Kickstarter
Smart wireless earbuds which store music, track activity and connect to smartphones
Funding period: February 2014 to March 2014
Total raised: $3,390,551
Original early bird shipping date: October 2014 (delayed to 4Q15)


Mota SmartRing on Kickstarter
Smart ring delivering smartphone notifications
Funding period: September 2014 to November 2014
Total raised: $41,740
Original early bird shipping date: April 2015 (delayed to 4Q15)

As part of CCS Insight’s Wearables Service Suite, we maintain a database of wearable devices that now contains over 400 products. The database provides up-to-date information about each product’s release time, price, specifications and features. Please click here to learn more about our service.

If you’d like to receive free Daily Insight
e-mails every day, click here to sign up