F-Stop Gear officially announce the death of KitSentry and that backers will not be refunded

Aug 8, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

F-Stop Gear officially announce the death of KitSentry and that backers will not be refunded

Aug 8, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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A week or so ago, Resource magazine published a pretty in-depth article into what’s going on with F-Stop Gear. More specifically, their long overdue KitSentry Kickstarter project. Now, F-Stop Gear has announced an end to the project. F-Stop Gear also stated that they will not be reimbursing backers.

The KitSentry looked very promising. You have ID tags on your gear and a unit that keeps track of them in your bag. Then an app on your phone relays all the information to you. A great solution to stop you forgetting to take items on a shoot, or accidentally losing them during one. Many people thought so and backed the project. It easily beat its $18,000 goal pulling in just over $27,000.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fstop/kitsentry/

The project completed in April 2015, with shipping scheduled to start last October. Backers became concerned when nothing showed up after that date. Now, almost a year later, an update has finally been posted. This announcement marks the death of the project.

Dear KitSentry Backers

We sincerely apologize for the delay in providing a project status update, it is long overdue. Over the last year and a half, we have had multiple starts/stops and run into many roadblocks in trying to bring the KitSentry project to life. When the project began, we planned to use off-the-shelf components and have the software developed to create KitSentry within the funding budget. In hindsight, our original target was much too low to get a project of this nature off the ground effectively.

As the project progressed we ran into two big problems: First, the company that we hired to design and produce the hardware was unable to follow through on their initial cost estimates and production commitments. While this does not absolve us of our responsibilities, it added additional cost beyond the Kickstarter budget.

Second, while developing the software we kept running up against limitations due to existing patents developed for similar tracking software; this caused significant delays and unexpected legal bills. While we may have been able to overcome one of the obstacles, the two combined have proven to be too much at this time. Even after the additional investment of time and money, it has become obvious that KitSentry is not economically viable.

We are currently in the process of the final financial consolidation and we will, as required by Kickstarter, share a topline summary with contributors that request the information. We deeply regret that we are unable to bring this project to market; we poured out heart and soul into making this happen and are very disappointed with the results. We really appreciate all of our backers and know that we let you down. While we can’t bring you KitSentry, we would like to offer you a goodwill credit toward any f-stop product, equal to the amount pledged on Kickstarter.

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly using the email address below.

Mike

m@fstopgear.com

For those who are not photographers, discount on an F-Stop bag will likely be of little use. Even for those that are, KitSentry will have left a bitter taste in the mouths of many of those photographers. It’s not unreasonable to assume they’ll completely avoid any F-Stop Gear products in the future.

But we can’t really be too harsh on Mike or the rest of the folks at F-Stop Gear. They don’t appear to have had the goal of ripping people off. They simply underestimated the needs of the project. It is a shame, because it could’ve been an extremely useful product, and hugely successful if done right.

Better planning, a more realistic goal, backup designers and suppliers (life happens), research into the technology they’d planned to use. All of these things would’ve been good before asking the general public for money.

Lesson learned, both for F-Stop Gear, and the Kickstarter backing general public.

What do you think? Did you invest in KitSentry? How do you keep track of your gear? Let us know in the comments.

[via Resource Magazine]

 

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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12 responses to “F-Stop Gear officially announce the death of KitSentry and that backers will not be refunded”

  1. Simon Williams Avatar
    Simon Williams

    Ouch!

  2. Hugh Mobley Avatar
    Hugh Mobley

    RIPOFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Jake Engel Avatar
    Jake Engel

    I was a backer (about $100 worth). I’m more annoyed at the lack of communication throughout the process and length of time before this announcement than not getting a refund. I have 2 of their bags and plan on using the credit if they have another product I could use. Kickstarter is always a gamble and backers should never assume it’s a store. I hope they make good on the offer of product credit soon AND actually have items in stock to ship.

    1. Marc Bouchard Avatar
      Marc Bouchard

      Fully agree! Backing anything on Kickstarter is a risk. It’s a good opportunity to get a deal on bleeding edge products (they’re not even in production yet!) but there’s no guarantee. They are at least offering a credit (which probably doesn’t cost them anything other than profit margins) but still better than a total loss.

  4. Marc Bouchard Avatar
    Marc Bouchard

    Like with any business venture, there are risks. While very frustrating to lose money, anyone backing a Kickstarter project is sharing in that risk. I’ve backed a few myself and have had no issues but I’m fully aware that this could happen. It’s not ebay (I’ve lost more money on bad ebay sellers than Kickstarter for sure!)

    1. DJ Bravo Avatar
      DJ Bravo

      Ebay has protection so you won’t lose your money, Kickstarter has none. It’s the modern day con scheme; a sucker is born every day.

  5. David Clunie Avatar
    David Clunie

    what were the patents they were running into causing interference? Its a simple rfid tracking system, which is used by many many many things, so their argument based on that seems a bit “bullshit” to me… granted I didn’t kickstart this project and wouldn’t like have as it seems like a pretty simple use of an ardunio and rfid shield. If anything they should release any and all code for people do make DIY versions.

    1. marcus Avatar
      marcus

      It doesn’t matter if the technology they were actually using is open source, anyone that has a patent that is remotely similar could sue and make them prove they aren’t infringing. Defending such a law suit quickly cost them more than the total amount raised in the kickstarter.

      1. DJ Bravo Avatar
        DJ Bravo

        They should have checked all of that before they went on Kickstarter to steal people’s money. You don’t put the cart before the horse.

  6. Ying Tong Avatar
    Ying Tong

    You don’t tell people at the end of the project whether it’s economically viable. You tell them at the beginning after doing the research.

  7. ext237 Avatar
    ext237

    Article title makes it sound like they are gonna keep the money and run. Kickstarter isn’t a store, it’s an investment opportunity with specific rewards. Sometimes investments don’t work out. But at least they didn’t fold the entire company and screw everyone. $100 credit at their store for a failed $100 investment isn’t completely horrible.

    1. DJ Bravo Avatar
      DJ Bravo

      They should refund the money. The errors made was the company’s fault not the backers so you the company for swallow the loss. Where is accountability? Where is integrity? Where is common sense?