In November 2013, Triggertrap Ada raised £290,386 to go into production, far exceeding its goal of £50,000. It was billed a high-speed flash and camera trigger that used interchangeable sensor modules that could be snapped on and off when needed.
It seems, however, that more than quadrupling its original cost estimation still wasn’t enough, as Triggertrap has updated its backers with a post titled simply ‘It’s the end of the road. We failed‘.
Describing the post as ‘the backer update that no Kickstarter project wants to send’, Triggertrap said that the manufacturing phase of Ada was going to be far more expensive than anticipated, and to deliver the product to all its backers would cause a ‘large probability that Triggertrap would go out of business’.
The firm admitted that the working prototype it created cost five times more than expected, and manufacturing more would cost triple the amount it hoped, making large-scale production unfeasible.
Though the project had been delayed, previous updates to the Kickstarter give no indication that it was in serious trouble. The last update, on 22 January 2015, apologised for delays but talked mostly about an updated software package that significantly improved Ada’s battery life.
The company says it has spent around 80% of the funds it received, and will be offering the remaining 20% as partial refunds for all of its backers. Backers can also choose to refuse a refund, or request it be donated to charity, or request a larger amount as credit in the Triggertrap store.
However, judging by the comments from backers on the Kickstarter page, many seem dissatisfied with these options.
Triggertrap CEO Haje Jan Kamps has written a blog post where he goes into greater detail on the failure of the Ada project.
Kamps said that Ada was hit with legal costs from the start from a ‘major camera manufacturer’ who took exception to the product’s original name (‘Redsnap’).
He also included several cost breakdowns that showed the extent to which actual manufacturings costs exceeded their predicted ones.
AP contacted Haje Jan Kamps for comment, the following is his reply in full:
‘The only thing I think I’d add is this: If you’ve seen the comments on our Kickstarter campaign, you can see that there are a lot of very angry backers. However, we are seeing a very different mood behind the scenes.’
‘We’ve asked all our Kickstarter backers to pick the refund they want. The form where they let their preference be known also has a comments box on it. We’ve tallied the feedback, and the vast majority (more than four-fifths) of our backers are happy with our solution – and many are adding words of encouragement to the form.’
‘Also, we fully understand the frustration of our Kickstarter backers, and we’re gutted and ashamed to have failed to deliver. Taking a step back, however, we have to make a choice: Try to deliver on a project that could cause our company to fail, or keep in mind the hundreds of thousands of Triggertrap Mobile customers we have around the world.’
‘If we allow the company to go bankrupt, we can’t support or serve those customers, which would be a second tragedy, in addition to the failed Kickstarter project.’
If you backed the Ada project, you can get in touch with Triggertrap via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.