No Good Way To Tell Bad News
over 2 years ago
– Thu, Dec 22, 2016 at 08:19:07 PM
We are sorry.
After two years of passionate work, our team can find no path forward to get the HydraDock campaign completed. The effort has left all of our backers with no product, all of our team without jobs, our original business founders in heavy debt, and our company closed — with a dozen other cool products also now dead, because HydraDock's losses used up all of the money needed to do anything else.
The funding round we announced three weeks ago simply did not happen. We have spent the intervening time trying desperately to address issues raised by the investors in that round, to try and make them happy without hurting HydraDock backers. But, we failed. Two of the larger funders insisted that we focus on other products and use one of several ugly methods to basically "dump" the HydraDock backers and product plans. We refused, because the entire point to us for raising funds was to complete HydraDock.
Over a two year period, the challenges and costs created by HydraDock (all of them well documented in our project updates here) have led to the death of our company. We are going to look at possibly restructuring as a services company after the new year. But, as far as taking new products to market — KickShark is ended.
There are a few of us who will continue to check messaging and emails on our own time, just to make sure nobody is ignored or is uninformed. Otherwise, we are shutting down all of our new product related activities. There is just no money. We are deep in debt. And, we can find no reasonable investors who share our beliefs in treating our backers honorably.
In total, we are about $193,000 negative with HydraDock, with about $90,000 being cash we diverted from other projects into HydraDock, and the remaining about $100,000 being loans made by our founders into the company — loans that they will never see repaid.
We know nothing to say except that crowdfunding and then delivering a completely original piece of microelectronics based technology, where no designs, guidance, schematics, or supply chain previously exists, is an astonishingly hard thing to do — even for experienced teams. Any problems along the way can quickly become insurmountable.
We passionately thank everyone who has taken this journey with us. We wish we could have all landed in a better place — a place with shipping HydraDock products. But, it didn't happen, despite everyone's good will and our best efforts.
We wish everyone a great holiday season!
With our sincere appreciation,
The KickShark Team: Kristin, Danielle, Mike & Jack
KickShark Announces Funding Round, Shipping Dates
almost 3 years ago
– Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 06:09:36 PM
KickShark, Inc. has closed a $750,000 private equity sale to a group of Nashville area investors, motivated supply chain partners, and one of the company’s founders. The funds are earmarked primarily to pay for mass production and market launch of HydraDock brand products, beginning with fulfilling all outstanding Kickstarter rewards and web site preorders. We will also be taking our SoloAmp product to mass production and market launch.
KickShark is immediately bringing back Kristin, Mike, Jack, and Danielle, with Kristin and Danielle handling customer support, Mike handling technical operations, and Jack managing the day to day company business.
HydraDock & Roadie
Our new funding is conditioned on “fixing” the HydraDock situation professionally and in a calm, un-rushed manner. We are proceeding with a new run of revised, improved circuit boards for the HydraDock HD1, a circuit board run for the Roadie, and, a revised enclosure for the HydraDock HD1 that has a different top shape to work correctly with all notebook computers, not just with the original 12-inch MacBook design.
We will be thoroughly testing everything at each step, and expect to ship HydraDock and Roadie products to Kickstarter backers and for web preorder backers starting in 7 to 8 weeks, between January 17th and 24th.
We will contact everyone ahead of shipping to verify addresses. All packages will ship from our Hong Kong fulfillment partner with tracking number emails sent to all recipients.
We are proceeding with a small production run of 250 SoloAmp units and 150 SoloAmp Sub units, and expect these products to ship to preorder buyers in 7 to 8 weeks, between January 17th and 24th.
We have an amazing opportunity to grow an important brand for USB Type C products, starting with catching up on past business with the HydraDock and Roadie, and adding new products in the future. Our new investors see the same market opening, and we are excited to have them backing our efforts now.
We only got here because of the support and patience of our Kickstarter backers an our web preorder backers. So, we deeply thank all of you for seeing this through to a point where everybody can win.
The KickShark Team: Kristin, Danielle, Mike & Jack
Update on the HydraDock situation
almost 3 years ago
– Sat, Oct 29, 2016 at 05:56:19 PM
First, we are still here and are still very aggressively working each day to fix the previously explained cash situation, so HydraDock can move ahead. The situation with the new boards, expenses, and choices needing made is exactly the same as when we posted a couple of weeks ago. So, anyone not familiar with the status can just read that previous post.
What new information we can add now includes:
1. Chargebacks. PLEASE do not attempt chargebacks through your credit card provider for preorder payments for HydraDock products! We have no money in our company bank account. It presently has a $900+ negative balance we are trying to correct. Stripe payment service does our card payments, and has sent us a warning notice about chargebacks failing to be paid from that account, and alerting us that they will close our account if we cannot maintain a positive balance.
If you do a chargeback through your card issuer, there is no money here to pay the chargeback, so it builds up a negative balance at Stripe. That makes it likely we will lose our card processing account, and lose the ability to make and receive payments and to access the payments histories and contact data for over 1,000 of you out there. Losing that Stripe account effectively puts us out of business, as no investor or lender will become involved if we have no immediate way to re-start sales and payments.
In other words, if you do a chargeback request, you are helping put us out of business — when we still very much have a path to fix our problems and ship products to everybody.
2. Refunds. PLEASE be patient. Read #3 below to learn what we’re doing and how refunds right now are not possible and asking for them just adds to the problems we are trying to solve.
3. Solutions. Three of our original founders have agreed to sign personal guarantees for a line of credit sufficient to get us out of the financial hole created by the HydraDock project, and get us enough money to fully solve those issues, as well as put the rest of our company back into action. We cannot state a specific date and time for this to happen. But, we are confident it will happen, and are working on making it happen each day.
We want to say that we deeply appreciate everybody who has been behind us all along the way here. We want you to know that we doubt anybody has ever been more determined to turn around a stalled project like this and make it work than we are determined to make it happen. We care about you, about people needing HydraDocks, about our business and reputation. We care about just doing the right thing.
So, that’s what we’re trying to do. The right thing.
As always, thanks to all of our amazing backers!
Kristin, Mike, Jack, Danielle, and Jonathan
The HydraDock Team
Important Update On The HydraDock Project Status
almost 3 years ago
– Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 07:21:53 PM
This is an update where we cannot agree on a neat, simple way to say what needs said. So, we will just post everything we know today.
Due to some completely unexplainable incompetence by our China factory, we are stuck, and have to pause everything until we can arrange new money to move forward.
Both our factory and our new Hong Kong fulfillment center have basically been dark with communication for almost two weeks, during a period where we were told the two products would be completed, sent to the warehouse, and shipments begun to backers and preorders. It has only been over the past two days that we have had any information from them at all.
All we have known is that no shipping emails have gone to anybody, and, no emails or calls from us have been answered in this period. Our representative in Shenzhen was told on Monday that nobody was available to meet with him when he visited the factory office in person.
And yes, that is an infuriating, very frustrating part of this “run it from the US, and build it in China” model. If they don’t want to talk to us, it’s easy for them to avoid us — even turning away someone we physically send to their facility there.
What We Know
What we think we know is that the holes that were to be quickly re-drilled and “stretched” a bit on the HydraDock PC boards by a shop there had problems, with many boards damaged. How many? We still do not know. What sort of damage? We don’t know.
It seems that somebody at the factory realized this was going to be their fault. And, instead of just telling us immediately, they decided to rush an order of enough new boards to replace the damaged boards, and hold shipping until those new boards were done. And, it seems the new boards ordered were exactly the same as the ones needing the holes re-drilled. So, they sent those right back through the same re-drilling process at the same shop, which of course caused more damaged boards.
And… we only began to get emails telling us about this situation yesterday.
If we had a team assignment to dream up the stupidest, most ridiculous story to tell, we could never imagine this level of craziness. We cannot believe that a supplier with the reputation ours has could possibly make these sorts of errors over and over again. But, they have. And, we have to deal with it.
What We Are Facing
The factory has now told us that none of the existing boards can safely be used, due to the drilling damage, and the risk of hidden or delayed damage from delamination of the boards. They say we need to do a new production run of HydraDock boards, using the revised mechanical design that relocates the holes to match the enclosures that are already made. And, they say that since they tried to resolve the problem first at their cost, we must pay for this new production run of 4,000 PC boards! They say that they will give us a reduced price because of the situation. And that is where we are today.
So, we have a crazy demand from a factory in Shenzhen, China to pay them $52 each for circuit boards to replace boards that they damaged in an effort to correct a hole misalignment problem that they created by using the wrong CAD to build the last run of circuit boards.
We actually only need about 2,100 HydraDocks to fill all current rewards and preorders. The other 1,900 was to be forward inventory. So, assuming the factory will do a reduced order, we “only” need to find about $150,000 somewhere to make the required payment.
Anybody tracking this crazy situation over time knows we do not have that money. But, our core team is still committed to this project, believes in our obligations to backers and preorders, and still believes in the future of HydraDock as an important USB Type C brand. So, we’re going to try and solve this problem.
What We Can Do
We have been contacted a few times this past year by larger companies interested in buying HydraDock from us. We are reaching out today to see if any of those still have that interest. We are also reaching out to the Nashville funding community to see if we can make a deal there. We will pursue any ideas at all that pop up for pushing past this situation. Basically, we are scrambling to find a “white knight” to step in and get us past this problem.
Obviously, we have paused preorders until we know when/if we will be able to produce and ship HydraDocks.
There are over 900 Roadie pocket hubs due to people, most of them attached to rewards and preorders also including a HydraDock. At the moment we cannot see how we can do a Roadie production run and ship those separately, because of the costs involved and then still having to ship the HydraDocks at a later time.
If the HydraDock situation cannot be fixed soon, one possible step is to proceed with the Roadie production run and shipments — and look at shipping a Roadie in place of a HydraDock on rewards and preorders, if that is the only action available to us at the time. All production and shipping costs for the Roadie are already prepaid for a 2,000 unit production run. So, it would cost us less than $50,000 to increase this amount and replace all HydraDocks with Roadies and go that direction. — but ONLY if no other options are possible to get the actual HydraDock completed.
In other words, we are stuck at the moment. Frustrated. Angry. And stuck.
We have shut down preorders until we get this solved. We will post anything new about the situation here. And, we will be scrambling to do anything possible to move beyond this latest problem and get this project completed.
Finally, we want to share our feelings about this situation: We feel ashamed and embarrassed at how this has all happened. We have dragged over 2,000 people into some ongoing drama over what was supposed to be just a really cool little computer accessory — a year and a half ago! And while it’s been painful for us, at this stage it is a major frustration and ongoing annoyance to all of you out there. We know this.
We’ll do everything we can to fix this. And, we will continue communicating through the process.
As always: Thank you for your support and hanging in there with us.
The KickShark Team
Shipments Starting September 16th
about 3 years ago
– Wed, Sep 07, 2016 at 09:47:50 PM
We had a momentary scare the past couple of days as our factory told us that the screw holes on the new circuit boards did not align properly with the mounting bosses on the enclosures for the HydraDock. But, the factory has sent all of the boards to the shop to have the holes slightly re-drilled. And, production will be right back on track in a couple of days.
Since we have so many shipments that include both the HydraDock and Roadie (as well as the two cables), we can’t gear up to ship until after the HydraDocks and the Roadies have been assembled and packed and are all at our Hong Kong fulfillment center. So, the first day planned for rewards/preorders to start going out looks like September 16th now.
A few notes on the shipping process
1. All Kickstarter rewards will ship first, in the order they were pledged on Kickstarter, followed by preorders placed on our HydraDock site, also in the order placed. Our warehouse says to please allow them up to 10-days to get all of the shipments sent out. So, the initial Kickstarter rewards will begin going out the 16th, and the latest Celery preorders from our site will go out about the 23rd to 27th.
2. All shipments to all worldwide destinations will go directly from Hong Kong by either EMS or DHL, with tracking number emails sent to everyone.
3. If you have one of the originally shipped HydraDocks from last year — either defective or not — you will be sent your original reward package all over again with new product(s), as if the first shipment last year never happened. You do not need to contact us, or return any defective product(s). You will simply be sent current generation product(s).
4. Finally, if your shipping address has changed and has not been updated, please email Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask her to update your address. We will provide the final shipping list to the warehouse on September 14th, and all addresses then will be final.
Should there by any further news, we’ll post it here. As always, THANK YOU so much to all of our wonderful supporters/backers as we have worked so hard to get through this crazy adventure and ship actual working products to all of you!
The KickShark Team