If you can admire nothing else about Venkat Yuvaraj, a Kickstarter entrepreneur who raised over $100,000 to make dry erase notebooks, you can admire his bravery. He is daring enough to run out of all his customers' money and then pass the hat around again.
The "Letterforms" project garnered over $100,000 from its Kickstarter fans—twelve times more than Yuvaraj requested. That was in March. Now, it's much later than March, and Yuvaraj is struggling to ship out any of his productivity kits. His explanation to angry customers is only pissing them off more:
I am truly sorry to convey that due to unfortunate reasons, there is an impact to our shipment process.
After the campaign was over and with the money we collected, we invested 70% of the total amount towards the Dry Erase Sheets and 20% for the Book Covers and the rest used for materials.
So 90% of the money was spent right off the bat. Then...
At that time, we got a commitment (Investor) that we will get additional funding during the shipment process...Recently, the Investor backed out due to personal reasons...
And so, even after $100,000, there is no money left to ship anyone the notebooks they paid for. Good thing he didn't just get that original $8,000! Anyone who wants their notebook sometime before never will have to pay extra, or wait indefinitely.
The Letterforms page is filled with irate Kickstarter blowback and nary a single satisfied customer. There's no reason to think Yuvaraj is a crook, or anything worse than incompetent. But what is it about Kickstarter that's such a lightning rod for incompetence? Is it because it encourages people with no capacity for business to take the money of strangers knowing that there will be virtually no recourse in the event of a complete and total fuck-up?