In 2015, Doug Monahan, the CEO and founder of iBackPack of Texas, Inc., introduced a revolutionary technology package encased in a typical backpack. The iBackPack boasted the capacity to incorporate WiFi/MiFi, a battery system, smart power transfer cables, and a car-charging system—while carrying four notebook computers and their accessories. Monahan promised that the iBackPack would be a “communication hub and corresponding electrical powerhouse for students and business professionals alike.”1 To bring the project to market, iBackPack sought crowdfunding through an Indiegogo campaign that raised $723,395 from 4,041 backers. An additional $76,694 was raised from 252 Kickstarter backers.
In 2016, iBackPack raised over $800,000 to fulfill investors’ orders, but the product never materialized. The only update from the company was a Facebook post alluding to issues sourcing “safe” batteries. By 2017, the iBackPack crowdfunding campaign failed to deliver the product promised to its investors.2,3 According to an article on the website The Verge in August 2018, the founders of iBackPack were under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.4 Although crowdfunding can be a great option for startups, those who abuse the system may find themselves subject to legal action.
- 1“iBackPack Planning Kickstarter Launch on Black Friday.” Cision PR Newswire. November 24, 2015. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ibackpack-planning-kickstarter-launch-on-blackfriday-300183934.html
- 2Lewis Leong. “Sorry, iBackPack Backers. You Got Scammed.” Crowdtoolz. January 9, 2017. http://crowdtoolz.com/sorry-ibackpack-backers-you-got-scammed/
- 3Kylie McGovern. “Hundreds Still Waiting for Bulletproof ‘iBackPack’ Delivery a Year Later.” KXAN. July 13, 2017. http://kxan.com/2017/07/13/hundreds-still-waiting-for-bulletproof-ibackpack-delivery-a-year-later/
- 4Ashley Carman. “The FTC Is Investigating a Crowdfunding Campaign That Disappeared with More than $700K.” The Verge. August 29, 2018. https://www.theverge.com/circuitbreaker/2018/8/29/17793720/ftc-ibackpack-investigation-indiegogo-kickstarter