Laser Razor Raises $4 Million, Gets Kicked Off Kickstarter For Maybe Not Existing

laserbeamsHey, remember how a few years ago, Kickstarter changed their rules to require that all hardware projects funded through the platform actually exist in a working form? Late last night, Kickstarter enforced that policy on a campaign that had already raised $4 million. Kickstarter administrators apparently didn’t believe that the product, which promises a “shaving revolution,” exists yet as promised.

Kickstarter’s rules dictate that a new product must have a working prototype. While having a single homemade prototype doesn’t guarantee that a project will be successful or easy to mass-produce, it does at least guarantee that it exists, and that the thing it purports to do is physically possible. With the Skarp Laser Razor, it’s not clear that either of those things is true.

Here’s a video of what is supposedly the prototype, which shows a few wrist hairs falling after multiple passes. The “shaving revolution” apparently is that users will roll into work around noon if they try to shave their faces with this thing in the morning.

In an interview with The Verge, one of the company’s cofounders explained that the prototype sucks precisely because it’s a prototype. “To produce the shaving results we discuss in our presentation, we require a high performance precision manufactured fiber,” he explained.

I think that translates as, “We can’t show you that it works until we have a few hundred grand to do a production run.” Kickstarter apparently didn’t buy this, and suspended the campaign, which is a non-reversible decision. It’s also a costly decision: the campaign had several days left, and had already raised $4 million, Kickstarter’s cut of which would have been $200,000.

Skarp packed up its alleged razors and took them to competing crowdfunding site Indiegogo, which has looser rules about things like collecting money for a product that may not be possible. They’ve raised $148,544 in the first 14 hours since moving, with the minimum set at $160,000.

Suspended: Skarp Laser Razor Campaign Shut Down by Kickstarter After Raising $4 Million [Crowdfund Insider]
$4 million laser razor campaign banned from Kickstarter is already on Indiegogo [The Verge]
Prototypes & Renderings [Kickstarter]