PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY, Crowdfunding platform Kick starter has hired a freelance journalist to investigate the collapse of Europe’s most funded project, the Zano Drone.
Created by The Torquing Group and drone/description” target=”_blank”>launched on Kickstarter in 2014, the Zano Drone promised backers a fully autonomous and intelligent portable mini drone able to capture HD videos and photos. The project raised more than $3.6 million to create and ship 15,363 units to supporters.
Concerns were raised about the development of the micro drone when the company continuously failed to stay on target with their development schedule throughout 2015 and was only able to ship around 600 units before The Torquing Group went under in November.
“We are greatly disappointed with the outcome of the Zano Project and we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us during this difficult period, especially our loyal employees whose commitment has exceeded all expectations,” the company said in a statement sent to Zano’s backers.
Due to complaints from supporters and the amount of money raised, Kickstarter has now has taken it upon itself to hire an investigative journalist Mark Harris to “write a story about the collapse of the Zano drone project on Kickstarter,” a first for the crowdfunding platform that normally offers little support with failed projects.
“[Kickstarter] wants to help the backers of this failed project get the information they are entitled to under their agreement with the project creator,” Harris wrote in a blog post on Medium. “They would like to uncover the story of Zano, from its inception to the present, and decided that the best way to do that was to hire a journalist.” Harris says his “primary audience” is the Zano’s original backers, and that he will try to publish the story “in the middle of January.”
Harris also highlighted how he will remain transparent in his reporting as he also questions the company that hired him. “I will also be looking into Kickstarter’s role in the project, and whether it could have served Zano’s creators or backers better throughout,” he continued.
“Crucially, although Kickstarter is paying me (up front) to research and write this story, and will be able to see it before it is sent to the backers or published, the company has no right to make any suggestions or changes to my copy. I have no other connection to the company, nor to anyone on the Zano team, and have no particular axe to grind.”
In an email to TechCrunch, a Kickstarter spokesman elaborated on the company’s decision to investigate the project stating, “It’s up to the backers to determine whether the creator has handled this well. But in this case we heard from many backers who were not satisfied with the information they got about the project’s failure. So we decided to help the backers get more information.”