E-ink watch Kickstarter goes bankrupt, leaving backers out of pocket

A smartwatch manufacturer has declared bankruptcy, telling its backers that they are unlikely to ever get their money back.

Central Standard Timing saw its CST-01, dubbed the world’s thinnest watch, successfully funded to the tune of over $1m back in 2013. The Verge reports that manufacturing problems reared their head in 2015, with CST then admitting that it couldn’t at the time see how it would manage to ship the 7,500+ watches that had been ordered.

Now a backer-only update to the campaign has published legal documents detailing its bankruptcy, and clarified that backers are essentially at the end of the pecking order when it comes to recouping their cash, stating: "The Trustee/Assignee has not determined whether a Kickstarter or other crowd-funding contributor is entitled to participate in a distribution, if any."

CST went down with assets worth just $30k and liabilities of nearly $900k. There hasn’t yet been any explanation as to where all the money has gone.

Last year the manufacturer’s of Europe’s biggest ever Kickstarter, the Zano Drone, admitted it was seeking voluntary liquidation. It had earlier received 2.3m from backers. Before its closure it successfully shipped in the region of 600 of its aerial photography drone, leaving around 12,000 backers with nothing to show for their money.

Around the same time as the Zano descended into chaos, $13m Kickstarter The Coolest Cooler was also going into meltdown. Trouble began brewing when the company started selling the $500 device on Amazon before it had begun shipping to backers, arguing that the extra cash was needed to ensure backers were not screwed over.

Then earlier this year the firm offered backers who had yet to receive a unit – around two thirds of them – the chance to pay an additional $97 to speed up the delivery time. Which went down well.

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