Trending: Crowdfund projects shooting for the stars

Trials and tribulations of backing a wearable crowdfunding project
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Unlike some of my Wareable colleagues, I've never backed a campaign on Kickstarter or Indiegogo and I think that's unlikely to change. The closest I've ever come to doing it was with the Bragi Dash. Wireless smart sports earbuds? Yes please.

But I changed my mind at the last minute. Bragi did of course launch and has delivered one of the best wearables to emerge from crowdfunding. But it didn't launch on time, and while I still applaud what it did deliver in the end, those delays still stick in my mind.

Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo remain a constant source for some of the most creative and innovative wearable ideas we write about here at Wareable. From smart earbuds to VR headsets, we've seen our fair share of groundbreaking projects raise big cash and ship on time.

Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out like that. At times these ideas are just so grand that startups are just too ambitious with their promises to deliver these innovative devices in relatively short spaces of time.

So who isn't keeping to their promise now?

BSX Athletics is the latest startup that is letting backers down after it raised over $1 million on Kickstarter last year for its LVL hydration monitoring fitness wearable.

What's the deal then?

With backers wondering why it had been all quiet on the LVL update front, CEO and founder Dustin Freckleton finally decided to talk.

"When our team started the Kickstarter campaign, we pledged transparency and regular updates. Something you each deserve. Something we have failed to deliver on. Why you may ask? Honestly it's because you deserved regular updates of substance, not salesmanship; full details, not fluff."

Freckleton then made another update this week and while revealing that the project had attracted big investment from the likes of Samsung, he also revealed that the LVL launch date was being pushed back to summer 2018, a year later than it promised.

Why is it late?

It appears that Freckleton and his team has encountered some issues in the design department in a bid to fit all of the features it promised.

People are pissed

Yeah, big time. Just go check out the comments on the Kickstarter campaign. There is a lot of very unhappy people with many requesting refunds, but searching the comments it sounds as if that refund is off the table as the money has already been put towards to getting the hydration monitoring wearable of the ground.

Trending: Crowdfund projects shooting for the stars

Is it surprising?

Yes and no. This isn't the first time BSX has looked to Kickstarter to get a project off the ground. Back in 2014, it wanted to raise $50,000 to bring its BSX Insight lactate threshold monitor to life.

It raised over $100,000, although failed to ship on time in December 2014, but it eventually turned up in February 2015. It's now used by US Olympic teams and endurance athletes. So there was a delay of a few months as opposed to the entire year that LVL has been pushed back to.

BSX, you are not alone...

We could stream off a whole host of wearable crowdfunding campaigns that have been in a similar situation. It's a great idea, you raise the big bucks, but it feels like it's delay after delay or issue after issue. The Blocks modular smartwatch springs to mind right now. We were originally expecting to see it in May 2016.

Will LVL launch?

Only Freckleton and his team can answer this question, but our hunch is that it's in the balance. The startup has proved it does know how to make a groundbreaking wearable, but it's becoming quite clear LVL is a more complex beast than it had previously anticipated.

So what have we learned?

Backing crowdfunding projects still remains a risky business and it pays to do your homework. It's easy to get caught up in the innovation, but sometimes it pays to take a step back and remember that it's often the case these small teams of extremely smart people reach for the stars but it can some times take a lot longer to get there than they first thought to get there.

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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