Coolest Cooler, one of the biggest failed projects on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, has gone bankrupt,media reported. The company’s CEO, Ryan Grepper, said in an update to supporters over the weekend that the company would cease operations and that tariffs were to blame. Grepper said a 25 per cent tariff on Chinese imports by the US affected their entire product line.
“This has been a devastating blow to our business, and I know that many of you, and thousands of small businesses around the world, have felt it in one way or another,” he wrote. “
While these tariffs are real, strangely, Coolest Cooler was originally launched at Kickstarter five years ago. The project raised more than $13 million in 2014, and even now it is the second-highest fund-raising project after the Pebble Time smartwatch. But the team later put its products on Amazon,even before it was shipped to all its supporters. In a March 2018 project update, the company said it had placed a total of two-thirds of its 60,000 orders.
“There is always a risk of creating new things, and some projects don’t succeed in the end,” Kickstarter said in a statement. Unfortunately, in this case, a third of supporters are not rewarded with promises. We try to make it clear that Kickstarter is not a store. In the five years since the project was funded, we’ve taken steps to make creators more transparent to their supporters and better understand how to bring their projects to life. “
In 2017, Coolest reached an agreement with the Oregon Department of Justice. Under the terms of the agreement, the company will be required to pay $20 to each supporter who does not receive the goods. However, it now appears that this group of supporters may not receive their $20, especially since the company has no cash. But the Oregon Department of Justice says the company must pay the money by 2020.