Coolest Cooler apologizes for delays

As backers become increasingly frustrated by product delays, founder writes a blog as a mea culpa.

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Portland-based Coolest Cooler broke Kickstarter fundraising records, but has since struggled to deliver the actual product to its backers.

As the Web-enabled became increasingly frustrated by delays, founder Ryan Grepper wrote a blog to apologize.

We know a lot of our Kickstarter backers are frustrated and we want to apologize for the delay in getting out the Coolest coolers as early as we had hoped. We are incredibly thankful for our supporters and would never have been able to create the Coolest without them. We will be getting every remaining backer their cooler reward and are truly sorry that it is taking far longer than we anticipated.

When you do a Kickstarter campaign, you plan for success and we did a great deal of research before launching. However, we are a small business with a small team and have been challenged by unforeseen logistical issues that created this delay. These issues included the overwhelming demand for our product, compounded by technological challenges with our order management system and a strike at the battery motor manufacturer. We are working quickly to resolve these issues and have already begun shipping product as we’re able.

(READ MORE: Coolest Cooler)

More than 62,000 people invested $13.3 million during the company’s Kickstarter campaign.

This isn’t the first time Grepper has had to write candidly to backers. In December last year, he had a similar post.

Backing a crowdfunding campaign, such as the Coolest, isn’t like making a purchase from an online store. Entrepreneurs must navigate the complexity of manufacturing and logistics. A wildly successful campaign can be a blessing and a curse since the amount of materials required for production can overwhelm small startups.

(READ MORE: Portland Business Journal)

Yahoo Tech said the product is “turning into one of Kickstarter’s biggest disasters.”

In a video uploaded to YouTube, CEO Ryan Grepper said the Amazon sale is to “keep the lights on” and “make certain that every single backer’s Coolest can get made and shipped.” The problem lies in the cooler’s blending motor, which is made by a supplier that’s currently on strike, he said. Coolest has been unable to find a viable replacement.

Coolest customers aren’t happy. In fact, 1-star Amazon reviews are flowing in from furious backers questioning why the units are not shipping to backers first. At more than $13 million in funding in exchange for around 60,000 coolers, the Coolest remains the second highest-grossing Kickstarter campaign in the crowdfunding sites’ history behind the Pebble Time smartwatch. The Coolest was advertised as a Bluetooth-enabled, speaker-equipped cooler that could blend cocktails, play music, and store 55 quarts-worth of beverages.

(READ MORE: Yahoo Tech)

That YouTube video has since been removed.

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