Its been awhile since I've gotten any real updates on the FishBit units, so here's what I've gotten recently. These are quoted from their Beta users group from one of the developers. It's a long read, lol.
Hi everyone, sorry for the silence. You all deserve to know what's really going on, so here it is straight.
It's obviously taking us years longer than we ever expected to get to market. We are still trying to get Fishbit in your hands, but Fishbit ran out of money paying for certifications, small manufacturing runs, and r&d, which is why it seems development hasn't moved forward in so long. We hadn't been paid in years, so we've had to pick up side jobs to make a living while trying to get this off the ground which slowed development.
It's been emotionally tough because we think we've solved all of the problems at this point and we are actually ready to manufacture, but we can't afford that first run anymore. Electronics has been by far the most expensive part of development, especially with the back and forth we had with certifications, needing to put in more small manufacturing runs after making circuitry changes. There is always an additional cost to pay for with hardware. Anyhow, we've already paid for about half of the first run but have been thinking about how to make or raise funds to pay for the rest.
Currently, our second plastics manufacturer (as you all already know, the first one stole 50k from us and is currently being investigated by the Illinois States Attorney) is in the middle of the first production run of 1000 enclosures. We have third party certifications but need to raise additional funds to cover the rest of the manufacturing of the electronics boards, probes, and a few other parts, so we are currently at a standstill as far as hardware goes. We're hopeful we can get that done so that we will then be able to fill these Fishbit boxes and ship them to you, but it's obviously been a difficult time for us.
The unfortunate fact is that Nathan and I have had to pick up side jobs to afford to live, though we've resisted taking full time jobs so that we can still work on Fishbit and not lose focus or motivation. We truly believe in what we've made and are doing everything in our power to get it out there, but business has been kicking our asses.
Thank you all for being here. We're disappointed that we still have not fulfilled our promise to you. We hope that we can still give your money's worth and more once we cross this hurdle.
Nathan and Zernyu
I guess having taken money, we gave ourselves pressure to please everyone who is counting on us, which made it really uncomfortable to share bad news. So we'd wait for progress and good news to write cheery updates, but then the good news stopped coming, so we had nothing we felt comfortable writing about.
You're absolutely right and in hindsight, it's clear as day that that's obviously not what betas and Kickstarters are about. You all are here for the ride and nobody can ever realistically expect a startup to have smooth waters. Lessons learned.
So for more insight into the past two years if anyone is interested: we might have mentioned it, but maybe not, but since Nathan and I were not making money, we both left Chicago to move back in with our families to save money. We are basically now an old school garage startup. A far cry from having started out in a fancy accelerator program.
Anyhow, I have been living in Taiwan (where my parents are from), was inspired to take some lessons to brush up my terrible Chinese skills, and it almost serendipitously led to my being able to work with a local Taiwanese manufacturer. We found out we had gotten ripped off by our original manufacturer basically as I was finishing up my classes and I got straight to putting my Chinese skills to the test searching for a new manufacturer. We had been relying on a Chicago-based middleman/interpreter before.
Incidentally, if anyone is ever in the market for a plastics manufacturer, you know who to talk to http://www.kstech.com.tw/english.html They're a very friendly little family-run factory, super easy to work with and knowledgeable and were a big help getting our designs suitable for injection molding.
So long story short, we've come so far there's no way we'll be packing it in without having first proven (or disproven) ourselves on the market. You can be sure of that.
Nathan has been working on proposals and grants with potential technology partners, investors, and research programs as ways to possibly bridge the final monetary gap. No luck as of yet unfortunately. Please let us know if anyone has any ideas!
Meanwhile, we'll keep trying.
Oh actually some more fun news. Our plastics manufacturer has completed their production run and we've got 86 boxes sitting in their warehouse, which have not been shipped out because customs is giving us problems asking for FDA registrations for the plastic material (?!?!). Who knows how this well-timed trade war between the US and China will affect taxes as well. Hah! Just more hurdles, but we'll figure it out.