Although 345 backers dug into their pockets to the tune of more than $700,000, the scooter they supported — the Model Eleven — will never see the light of day. The company is offering its backers three options to make up for it, including a full refund or a different model of electric scooter.

Hardware can be unbearably difficult – I know, I ran a $500,000 Kickstarter project that I haven’t been able to live up to publicly — and crowdfunding projects have a dark side: production and business models never match the models you build at the beginning of a product development cycle. In the case of Unagi, the company’s CEO, David Hyman, told me that it found that the subscription model works much better than the planned “build them and sell them” model.

We wrote about the scooter when it was first announced.

David Hyman, co-founder and CEO at Unagi, speaking on a panel at Micro Mobility America. Image Credits: Haje Kamps

“With the incredible wind around our subscription offering, and how this is working as a superior business model for us, as well as for consumer adoption (where our daily subscriber count trumps our sales by 20 to 1, the Model Eleven, priced as a subscription would have been prohibitively expensive for material adoption,” Hyman told me in an email. “We always envisioned that the Elf would be a low-margin passion project that we would only sell directly, not through retailers. But because we don’t believe it will work with a subscription at that high price, we made the very difficult decision to leave it behind.”

The company offers its backers three choices to keep them happy, in a move that shows the company cares deeply about its customers (and its reputation). The company’s Indiegogo backers supported the project with an average of $2,000 each. They can choose from:

  1. A full refund.
  2. A three-year All-Access subscription to the Model One Voyager, including color choice, guaranteed new scooter and theft insurance. Scooter is coming in November. One month before the official release. (Valued at $2,412)
  3. Two Voyager scooters to own, including the standard one-year warranty. (Valued at $2,390)

Indiegogo backers can expect an email from the company today detailing the options above.


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