Kickstarter hired Mark Harris, a professional journalist, to investigate the $3.5-million crowdfunding flop that was the palm-sized Zano drone.
Shortly after the Zano project achieved the ambitious sum of $3.5 million through its Kickstarter campaign, its manufacturer Torquing Group let everyone know that it was closing. The company managed to deliver only 600 of the 15,363 paid-for units.
The crowdfunding platform now wants to send a powerful message to backers, underlining that is has their best interests at heart. That is why it contacted technology journalist Mark Harris, who agreed to do a full investigation on the subject.
“[Kickstarter] wants to help the backers of this failed project get the information they are entitled to under their agreement with the project creator. They would like to uncover the story of Zano, from its inception to the present, and decided that the best way to do that was to hire a journalist,” Harris noted.
The journalist made it clear that he aims to publish his story sometime in the middle of Jan. 2016.
Harris pointed out that Kickstarter paid him upfront for the investigation, but guarantees that his report will be unbiased. His questioning will target the crowdfunding firm itself to bring light on the matter.
“Whether [Kickstarter] could have served Zano’s creators or backers better throughout” remains to be seen, says the journalist.
He underlined that he is in no way tied to Kickstarter or to anyone who worked on the Zano project. Harris himself is among the palm-sized drone’s backers.
Hiring an external investigator is a premiere for Kickstarter, who had previously managed the failures of crowdfunding projects in a rather passive mode. The crowdfunding platform also reminded backers that all projects are prone to risk, and that they are not shopping, but rather investing.
However, the significant sum of money involved and unanswered questions regarding the Torquing Group’s actions led the crowdfunding company to a more hands-on decision.
The Torquing Group posted several apologies on the crowdfunding platform website, explaining its expenditures and delays to the backers of the project.
We are looking forward to seeing whether Zano’s write-off happened due to a synergy of poor management, exaggerated expectations, foolish ambition and plain bad luck, or due to other reasons that will surface during Harris’ investigation.