13+ million dollars – 62,000 investors, 40,000+ have never received their coolers, each having made a minimum original investment of no less than 200.00 per order to Ryan Grepper via Kickstarter. Unknown funds generated on the ongoing upgrades for speakers and batteries paid to Coolest Cooler LLC. After repeated missed deadlines, unauthorized upgrades to the cooler and/or componets and failure to show transparency on the original 13+ million, his once excited investors are claiming possible fraud and fighting back to change crowdfunding’s lack of accountability via regulations and regulatory bodies to govern the practice of reward/product based by multiple individuals from all over the world. Below are the highlights (if all the low lights were included, a novel would/could be written) from this investors, experience and research and shared experiences/discoveries from other investors.
Feeling Grepper Gouged? – of course you are! Grepper Got Your Cash? – of course he does! The Grepper Effect – Scampaign!
Missed delivery dates, upgrades and excuse after excuse for non delivery, no refunds until 2 weeks prior to your delivery date. Investors started digging and easily discovered the Coolest Cooler project that was accepted and promoted by the trusted platform Kickstarter, did not have a proven or credible business plan or a working prototype. When Kickstarter is approached (after non delivery of products) they refer to their TOS of the time of this campaign; which they state makes them not liable despite that they received 60,000+ active memberships, for an unsuccessful delivered project. Nor do they confirm or deny that they did targeted ad marketing to sell more and to make Coolest Cooler one of the highest generating crowdfunding projects by Kickstarter all over Social Media (side bar of Facebook – with the membership option to join via your facebook login to Kickstarter and then gain access to all “investors” friends, family and public – depending upon their profile settings) and TV coverage (The Today Show – very well trusted) and News media outlets to name a few. Kickstarters privacy terms state that the project creator only receives backers email information after the project is funded. Kickster gives Grepper ALL his funding, less their percentage, without a proven business case or working prototype, of which at least a working prototype is part of their TOS at the time of funding.
Backers discover extravagant trips (China 10 people) inappropriate discretionary spending – many claim he purchased a Porsche and numerous media/marketing parties, hiring friends and family with elevated salaries. Coolers that are produced are randomly delivered to Kickstarter employees, Grepper’s family and friends and all those investors who are at his children’s school. Coolest Cooler Camp sends out notifications of delays because they are creating or sourcing a better product, but are happy to offer an additional, “opportunity to buy more add ons” now perceived as a cash grab, and they are working on generating a shipping notification, however logistics are complex.
Backers are then notified of a China motor strike by Grepper/Coolest Cooler Camp (CCC). Gripper/CCC start selling in the retail market (Amazon) which is found out by backers; who have not received their rewards with no previous notification from Grepper/CCC. Angry backers start posting reviews on Amazon and Grepper/CCC lashes out at backers stating that they can’t make additional monies to continue producing if negative reviews are given. China motor strike is announced over and all Shipping notifications are announced. International backers are shipped in the last batch; speculation of using the $100 international shipping fees to fund and ship more coolers/backers domestically in the US.
Then Grepper/CCC announces there are no funds left, and shipping has stopped but Retail sales continue, however deposits have been made with factories and they have leads on investors, to cover the 15 million dollar shortfall.
Investors are infuriated and continue a deeper dive into how the original Ryan Grepper’s Kickstarter video portion of his campaign:
“I create products for a living and to manufacture the Coolest I have lined up a World Class sourcing company with years of experience making top-shelf products and they are standing by to coordinate all stages of production and logistics. This will make sure that you not only get your Coolest on time but it is the highest quality Coolest we can make.
A very different Ryan Grepper on the History Channel story showing that he and CCC had nothing in place to build 1 cooler, let alone 62,000 at the time of campaign and new that the product pricing of the campaign was not going to be enough to cover the costs.
Another You Tube video of Ryan Grepper created with his “teachings” on how you can get “free” money (crowdfunding) and not having to delivery but you get to keep the funds, is discovered and posted within the Kickstarter/Coolest Cooler comments section and the file is quickly deleted from his webpage inventorsblueprint.com but not before backers were able to download the copy to computers – a “teaching moment” which is now posted regularly.
Grepper/CCC quickly after each announcement of delays and untruths attempt damage control but are quickly discovering the investors are not giving up and continue to pressure for accountability, transparency and justice. Those that threaten via law suits, class action, going to news media outlets or relentless investors asking for refunds and posting numerous less than favourable comments on Kickstarters/Coolest Cooler comments pages are rewarded.
Refunds are now not given with the announcement of no monies, investors scramble to be refunded by credit card companies only to find out the time frame for many were missed by just weeks.
Investors begin to file at quickly with the FTC and DOJ, Grepper announces on the Kickstarter/Coolest Cooler comments page, that those that file with the DOJ are not getting coolers.
Susan Towers, Marketing Director reaches out to an administrator of a private group that a “reporter” called her to advise that that neither the FTC or DOJ would be processing/accepting claims.
DOJ https://justice.oregon.gov/Complaints/index.aspx – just search Business Name: Coolest Cooler (there are over 12 pages of complaints filed to date).
Grepper continues to try to control the outcry of foul play and repeated requests for statements to disprove he inappropriately spent the investors funds. Investors pressure via Kickstarter comments for an update and a new announcement and offer made on April 12th – the “Path Forward”, if you pay an additional $97.00 Grepper/Coolest Cooler will guarantee you get your cooler by July 4th.
While you don’t have to spend the $97.00 but if you don’t Grepper/CCC will have sell to sell 80,000 coolers via retail sources in order to send all investors their products.
Another investor advises/confirms that the “China” manufacturers can produce 10,000 units of 1 colour per month. Even if the 80,000 coolers could be sold or an outside investor invested to cover the 15 million shortfall, it would be 2017 before everyone would receive their product.
April 22nd Ryan Grepper announced he was just back from another trip to China, to confirm production and to announce that 10,000 investors expressed interested in the voluntary $97.00 shipment pledge. There would be 10,000 units only (confirming the production rate per month) although he has not mentioned what colour you would get but states that on April 26th more information will come and you will have until the 29th (based on availability) to commit. There are no specifics if this within US only or International investors can receive as well. Pretty sure that would be announced after he received this current cash grab.
Crowdfunding needs to change to protect the investor and not the platform it is being run on or the creator, through a regulation and regulatory bodies, to ensure a fair, equitable and transparent transaction end to end.