As remarkable Kickstarter meltdowns go, this is probably the daddy.
Back in 2013, Peachy Printer raised $651k to make what was being dubbed as the world's first $100 3D printer. However, in a remarkable update, co-creator Rylan Grayston has claimed that partner and financial manager David Boe has spent $320k of this money on the construction of a house for himself.
Even more incredibly, Boe is then shown in a video confessing to his deeds.
The whole thing is utterly bizarre. Take a look:
So odd is it, in fact, that many backers are crying foul over the whole thing, prompting Grayston to publish a long post insisting that the scam is legitimately a scam and not some elaborate meta-scam to get away with the cash. Demonstrating a working product would probably help with that.
I come to you with some incredibly difficult news. What I'm about to disclose has plagued this company for over a year, but I've always had a plan that ends with printers in your hands. Recently it became clear that our latest strategy to deliver rewards was no longer viable,” he stated.
I can't begin to explain how relieved I am to finally speak about this issue. I've been wanting to share this story with you since the day I found out, and it's been very difficult to live with it in darkness. The Police would like to hear from you. They have asked me if there are any backers that they can talk to. I have written an open letter to the police, and I hope you will too.
I fully expect that some people will think this is just a big conspiracy, but if that were true do you really think I'd be asking you to write to my local police? I know I've done my best to act in the interest of the backers, and I'm confident the investigation will find that to be true.”
Grayston went on to claim the Boe was no longer associated with the company or have access to its accounts, and that he has agreed to a repayment plan – and to date he has missed two of the three agree agreed payments. There is also a long evidence document available online, seemingly designed to prove Grayston's innocence just as much as it is Boe's guilt.
I expected, and still do expect David to pay us back. This was a reasonable expectation, and he has actually repaid $111,000 to date. You can see why I thought that this was a viable solution, he got over a 3rd of the way there. To this day I still think it's a little crazy that he hasn't paid us back in full,” Grayston added.
I also attempted three other plans in an effort to develop and deliver backers rewards. I was quite confident in some of these plans, and made shipping estimates based on their success. I truly believed that I would be able to deliver under one or a combination of these plans, which is why I maintained that things were on track, and that I would still be able to deliver rewards.
David knows exactly what he did, he lives with it every day, and he knows you deserve an apology straight from him. I told him I'd only release the video [above] if he failed to pay us back before we were ready to ship. I think he was actually so confident in his ability to repay, that he didn't think the video would ever see the light of day.”
Grayston insists he still wants to get the product to market, although there does seem to be one problem: We're broke. In fact, I wasn't even able to pay rent at the house/headquarters this month.”
Here's a picture of Boe's house, which to be fair does look quite nice. Spacious. Good for dog walkers:
So, not a good month for Kickstarter backers, then.