Indiegogo Pulls the Plug on Scammy Modular Phone Campaign

A couple of days ago, many tech sites were pointing and laughing at Google’s Project Ara, saying that Fonkraft, a Viennese startup, had beat it to the punch.

The flex-fund Indiegogo campaign would’ve been a success for the two Austrians behind Fonkraft, even if the $50,000 funding goal wasn’t met. There are so many problems here, that it’s difficult for me to choose one to start with. Remember when Canonical (the makers of Ubuntu) looked to raise $32m on Indiegogo for what would have been Ubuntu Edge, the first smarthone to run their flavor of Linux? Had that been a flex-fund campaign, Canonical would have obtained the $12m the backers pledged by the campaign’s end, and would’ve started working on their product. Believing that a Project Ara-killer could’ve been done with $50K is a sign of unimaginable naivety.

Secondly, the two guys representing “Fonkfraft Technologies” (it does sound fancy and credible, doesn’t it?) seem to be some ghosts. They have no social media profiles, no LinkedIn pages, and basically nothing to suggest that they have any experience in the phone industry. I can’t help but wonder how two guys would’ve manufactured four different models of modular phones with $50K.

As seen in the following video, the prototype is represented by two pieces of plastic. Knowing this, learning that backers had pledged more than $20,000 before Indiegogo decided to suspend the campaign is simply unbelievable.

This is not the first time things go awry in crowdfunding. In October 2014, Kickstarter decided to shut down the campaign for Anonabox, a “privacy router,” that was supposed to make use of some custom hardware to achieve the promised results, until it didn’t. This time, it’s Indiegogo’s turn to prove that it has no standards when it comes to accepting projects for crowdfunding. Fortunately, the crowdfunding platform has realized early that the Fonkraft campaign is a scam, and pulled the plug on it before backers lost their money.

I just wish people weren’t so ignorant when it came to investing their money in something that was never seen before. After all, if a modular phone, along with a bunch of modules, were so cheap to make, chances are we would have already had such a product, by now. Unfortunately, some still have to learn that not everything that flies was born with wings.

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