First and foremost, we want to thank you all for helping bring Whipr to life. You helped us take a dream and turn it into a reality and for that, we are and always will be incredibly grateful.
Today we have good news and bad news.
First the good news… We’ve come to terms with the shipping agents responsible for fulfilling the crowdfunding campaign. This released the final container (container 12) from impound and those backers, with a couple of re-delivery exemptions, finally got their products.
Now, the bad news. Due to shipping overages and COVID induced cost increases, fulfillment of the Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns ran far over-budget and Whipr is currently unable to support future operations. We currently have no paid staff and customer service has ceased operations. Warranty claims, product support, spares, tutorials, videos, app updates and new products (a few of which are near ready for release) will all be halted. Existing inventory is leveraged by creditors and as such will be sold off to cover factored finance debts. Whipr itself as a company is currently insolvent.
We’re well aware that this is not a desirable outcome, we fought hard for it not to be the case but the economics of this campaign changed and it’s been too much to surmount.
FINANCES AND WHAT HAPPENED
We’d like to stress that in August 2020, when the campaigns launched, we had solid quotes with our manufacturers. We knew that costs may increase during development and we were prepared for the campaign to simply break even, but the amount by which they increased far exceeded our forecast. When it came to shipping, the quotes we received were increased exponentially with excess fees and due to the ‘blank check’ nature of bulk shipping agreements, we've been forced to pay a considerable amount in shipping overages.
To put the situation in perspective, here is the financial breakdown of the campaign. The numbers have been actualized to only include expenses associated with the Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns:
- Of the $4,819,530 raised on Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Backerkit; Whipr received $3,908,900 after platform, processing and advertising fees.
- COVID increases pushed our manufacturing costs to an average of 150% higher than forecast
- Shipping cost 141% more than was collected
- Factory shutdowns, increased material/tooling costs and increased contractor/staffing needs raised our projected expenses by 179%
- The net effect was a total campaign loss of $1.94MM, a far cry from the originally forecast profit of around $500-600k**
- To boil that down to an easy number, the average backer cost us $170 over and above their pledged amount.
Instead of coming back to you for more money, we secured loans to pay for the difference. We've paid off a lot of it but Whipr is currently over $1MM in debt. This is comprised of over $300k in shipping overages and $700k in factored financing used to cover increases in manufacturing costs.
We’ve been unable to recoup these losses with onward sales and we've been unable to secure further financing or investment. Further, a combination of the cost of finance and prohibitive shipping costs don’t leave us the margins we need to operate. As such, the business is insolvent and will now go through a period of administrative shutdown.
The following should answer some of the more common questions you may have.
SO, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
While it is technically possible that we could receive an investment or buyout that would steer us to a better path, Whipr is now forced to effectively shut the business down. Our creditors will require that the current (limited) inventory will be liquidated in order to pay off the campaign and shipping debts.
CAN I STILL BUY WHIPR PRODUCTS?For the foreseeable future, now is your last chance to add to your whipr products. For the next 7 days, backers have first access to the liquidation with 60% off everything in the store. We can’t do anything about the shipping (which is listed at cost) but you’ll be getting product at close to or under original Kickstarter pricing.
This code will be active only until August 10, while stocks last.
- Base unit replacement rope: User replaceable rope specially formulated for whipr by Marlow ropes (a video guide will be published shortly)
- SUP paddle: our most popular add-on for customers that purchased rowers
- Ski Accessory: our second most popular add-on for customers that purchased rowers
CAN I HELP?
If you'd like to contribute directly to Whipr please scroll to the bottom of this page and add to our shipping fund. All money collected at this link will go directly towards paying the excess shipping fees incurred by your shipments.
WHAT ABOUT MY WARRANTY/ITEMS?
The terms of Kickstarter and Indiegogo will should be consulted for any questions on perk/rewards. In plain language, Whipr, Inc. has made all possible good faith efforts to fulfill crowdfunded campaigns with multiple attempts to provide a means to claim backer rewards. All backers with unclaimed rewards have been notified by email multiple times of the methods by which they can claim their rewards including last chance notices. We tried to make it work, but we are unable to process refund requests. If you'd like to claim your reward you may still pay the invoice you were sent.
If Whipr, Inc. remains insolvent the company will no longer be in operation in order to service your warranty.
PERSONAL NOTE FROM THE FOUNDER
When I launched Whipr it was a dream that came true, likely because of you. For that I thank you. I could never have expected what transpired over the next 18 months as I saw the best laid plans fall apart due to the pandemic.
I’ve tried, and I believe succeeded, in surrounding myself with industry professionals and ‘smarter than me’ people to get this project done. None of us had a crystal ball in order to predict the damage COVID would have on our startup business. At every turn we tried to do the ‘right thing’ by backers, but we failed many times to make everyone happy. I accept that as part of business but wish it had been easier to say yes to the many demands that came our way.
I’m very sure that there will be some people reading this and assigning blame on myself or my team and that’s fine, I also accept that. You don’t start this kind of business, stick your neck out that far and not expect to be rewarded with far more pressure than pleasure. This venture has been one of the hardest things I've done in life and I can't tell you how many sleepless nights I've had over the past two years. From solo staffing the company for the first 6 months to hiring a team, to putting out the endless fires that COVID lit around us it's been incredibly difficult ... I only wish I could say that it was successful. Alas that's not the case. That said, I’m proud to have designed and delivered an innovative product that is now in over 12,000 homes around the world, and I’m absolutely stoked to see it having a positive impact on so many people’s lives.
I apologize for this disappointing news, especially to the backers who were negatively impacted in any way. I assure you that we did everything in our power to succeed. As this administrative process takes place many of the decisions will be taken out of my hands, but where there's a chance to steer in to anything that will benefit backers I will endeavor to do so.
We all had great big dreams for this product and this company… but for now, this run is over.