Crowdfunding has left us with stories of triumphs and failures. Projects that have gone very well and others that have proved to be a real fraud. Fortunately, the seconds are in the minority but it is true that they always have much impact. In fact, today we talk about one of the recent scandals. A smartphone Android where the platform in which it sought funding It has had to abort its departure and the money they had managed to.
His name is Fonkraft and it’s a modular phone used Project Ara. A phone with a lot of parts and components which also promised to be affordable. They started with force and rose very fast, a few days later fall demolished. Many doubts, little information and a story that ends badly.
The parts of this phone does not fit
The creators of the Fonkraft launched a campaign on IndieGoGo. Its purpose was to create a phone on hand from Project Ara. The idea was good, in fact it seemed a good boost for a project that at the moment has more conceptual than practical. They were looking for $50,000 in 45 days, a number of unreasonable taking into account product which was.
Everything seemed very reasonable, but there were some things that creaked: CPU and GPU were separate modules. Something very strange if we consider that on all phones these components are put together to save space and good performance. That they are separate parts was a step backwards and eventually could be compatibility issues between one element and another.
Other technical aspect that not fit was the fact that announced the phone with 5.0 Android Lollipop. The problem of modular phones is that the system must be capable of recognizing hot modules and load them as connected or removed. At the moment, this function is not available in Android 5.0, at least not in the version we know. It is still very green.
With all that, Fonkraft left on IndieGoGo. Your $50,000 goal did not seem realistic. Taking into account that they had to make many developments from scratch (only plastic mould already worth between 2,000 and 3,000 dollars) This amount did not seem reliable. Their prices either: $99 for the most affordable model and 200 for the more ambitious settings. Not tallied, there were voices that began to tick for the fraudulent draft but in three days got the number calling.
However, three days later (and with 42 ahead to close the campaign) IndieGoGo decides to close and lock the Fonekraft campaign, returning the money to the people who had contributed. What had happened? Very simple: the company that had back was very opaque and they began to emerge several suspicions about them.
The crowdfunding to donations at PayPal
On the one hand, There is no way of locating information about them on the web: There is no physical address, there is no number of phone, or registration of the company or legal information. Zero, beyond the commercial to try us part convince that I invest there was absolutely nothing. It may seem trivial, but in some countries it is mandatory that this information appear reflected somewhere. In fact, in Austria (where are their creators) it is necessary Yes or Yes.
Its creators, Sebastian Mayer and Matthias Berger, are quite elusive people that it is impossible to find through search engines and social networks. You have a great project that seeks to push one of the most promising (and Ethereal) technologies of the time and it is not displayed anywhere. Suspect, but worst of all has been the update that you have made in your web page.
If we go into it, no longer appears the information of its authors. Just a update protesting IndieGoGo measurement and a button for make a donation through PayPal. This last makes everything more suspicious yet. Its creators claim that there is no fraud back but the reality is that right now only ask for money as well since on Kickstarter, they say, have not met the requirements to get a campaign.
The situation is very strange, but in less than a week, this company has gone from being a promising project to be, with all the information on the table, a lot of smoke. The project was promising but sometimes these things happen and, fortunately, this time the platform has acted in time to avoid a potential fraud of more than $50,000.