The fundraising campaign for a ‘laser razor’ has been ditched from Kickstarter, after it was found that the product had no working model and technically did not exist.

The product was billed as an environmentally-friendly, irritation free razor and has raised nearly $4 million on Kickstarter since the campaign began. Whilst the team behind the ‘Skarp’ razor insist the product will be ready as early as March 2016, Kickstarter have sent an email to backers explaining that “it is in violation of our rule requiring working prototypes of physical products that are offered as rewards”.

The campaign was one of the most successful in the crowdfunding site’s history, far surpassing its $160,000 target, but has now been suspended by Kickstarter. However, it has since moved it’s page to rival site IndieGogo. Skarp’s CIO Oliver Pearce-Owen said of the move:

“We have taken our prototype as far as we can before mass production and that is why we are on Indiegogo.

“They have been incredibly helpful – it’s clear they are interested in bringing exciting, cutting edge campaigns to their platform.”

This situation defines many of the reasons why critics are hesitant about the rewards-based online crowdfunding model. Unlike debt and equity crowdfunding sites, which although not risk-free do vet their projects extensively, it is all too easy for a company to put a page up on sites such as IndieGoGo and Kickstarter and encourage the public to part with their money with no real evidence of a business model or definitive plan for the funds.

Whilst it is true that sites such as these are ideal for new businesses needing financial backing in order to even develop their project, backers invest on the company’s word alone and there are no repercussions or chance to get money back on a rewards-based site. Parting with significant amounts of money on sites like these remains a risky business.


Miranda Wadham on 14/10/2015
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