Running a hardware startup is a hard business. That's according to the TravisLeon Watch Company who raised CAD$128,187 on Kickstarter last month. In fact, it announced to its 654 backers that the BOLDR Voyage smartwatch project has been cancelled and they will not be charged any money.
The startup, founded by Travis Tan and Leon Leong and based in Singapore and Malaysia, had been successfully selling mechanical watches from 2014. The $179 Voyage smartwatch promised the looks of a classic wristwatch combined with notifications, activity tracking and a three month battery life (plus three year watch-only battery). Shipping was set for April 2016.
But in yet another casualty of the cut-throat world of wearable tech crowdfunding, the team posted this to backers on 20 October: "Towards the later part of our campaign, we were hit by some sharp increases in overall costs, mainly due to the requirements of obtaining CE and FCC certifications."
As well as inexperience with dealing with getting certification for Bluetooth devices, the Voyage watch was also hit by supplier problems. "Much to our dismay," the post stated, "our supplier has increased the number of PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) we need to create for the smart module, much more than the number of watches we've ordered."
The startup plans to relaunch a smartwatch campaign in future and has even set up a survey around what people liked about the product and the campaign and what they didn't for anyone interested.
"We are very sorry if we've let you guys down, and that we didn't manage to resolve our challenges in time," said Tan and Leong. "We sincerely hope that BOLDR Watches will not end here, but rather marks our trials and tribulations in the beginning of our voyage together. We will be bolder when we are back."
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