This email was sent on April 26th 2018 to all our Indiegogo backers
Dear Indiegogo Backers --
I want to thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for the amazing support you've given us for the past two years.
My name is Ladislas, CEO and Cofounder of Leka, and I am writing you today in order to share important information about the future of our company.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to deliver the product in 2018 and we are still working on being able to provide you with an adjusted target delivery date. I want to tell you more about what has been happening at Leka that led us to our current position, and give you an estimate of when you can hope to finally get your Leka or a refund.
In May 2016, we launched our crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. The goal of the campaign was to gather the money needed to manufacture our first production batch. We had been working with our industrial partner for 6 months, and with their full support regarding a reasonable timeline, Leka estimated the shipping date for the first quarter of 2017.
In September 2016, our industrial partner informed us that some of the technological bricks we were working with, including Leka's all-important wireless charging station, would in fact no longer be made available for product orders under 50,000 units. This had not been the case when Leka first entered into agreements with our industrial partner. With our inaugural order standing at just 800 units, and with most of the robot's design having been planned around wireless charging, we were faced with an unexpected and formidable change in plans.
The Leka team immediately jumped into action in the face of this new challenge. We completely redesigned the robot to work with other available components which doubled the manufacturing cost we had initially estimated with our industrial partner. It became impossible to complete the industrial development without raising money from an investor to meet the financial demands of this spike in development costs.
Up to this point, we had been working mainly with special education schools for short periods of time to run tests and make sure we understood the specific needs of exceptional children. But in order to raise money, it became important to also have long term feedback from families, therapists and researchers, as investors were concerned with the market response and day-to-day use of Leka. We started working on an Alpha Development Program and managed to build 10 units ourselves that we shipped in September 2017. As of today, that has grown to more than 50 units in 12 countries, all built by our team. Families and therapists have been posting their feedback and documenting their experiences with Leka here, here and here. You can learn more about the Alpha program here.
Some investors still feel that the market is too small and therefore not a priority. At Leka, we strongly believe that it is instead simply a matter of the market for special needs children having long been neglected. We are here to change that together. Two VC funds in Paris agree, and are willing to invest if we find a lead investor (someone willing to execute the investment process and the due diligence). I'm personally conducting the search for this lead investor, pouring all my time and energy into this endeavor to finally bring Leka to you.
We will continue to sell Leka Alpha and tirelessly improve the product until we find our lead investor, fulfill our commitment to you, and ship your Leka to your doorstep. Though our ongoing search renders it difficult to pinpoint an exact delivery date, we can share that after a lead investor has been secured, one year will be necessary for final production before your very own Leka will be on its way.
I know this update is long overdue, and many backers have expressed concern that their children are growing older as development continues. I understand these concerns and share my deepest regret for this delay. Please know that delivering Leka to you so that it can make a difference for your child and your family is our passionate mission and our sole objective. Though I am confident that once your Leka arrives, you will instantly recognize its importance to the special needs community as a whole, I also respect your family's needs and expectations. Therefore, once a lead investor is secured, each and every one of you will be given the option to either continue your journey with the Leka team until delivery, or request a refund of your support.
The entire Leka team joins me in expressing our deepest apologies. We hoped we could overcome these hurdles sooner, but nonetheless should have kept you better informed of our difficulties with the manufacturing process.
We are honored to be working with you, we are touched and emboldened by your trust from the very beginning, and we will fight to the end to prove to you why Leka deserves it.
If you have any questions or complaints, please do not hesitate to reach out directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org