No Limits: have 1919 backers of a Scottish power-meter been scammed? - BikeBiz

No Limits: have 1919 backers of a Scottish power-meter been scammed?

Ray Maker of the DC Rainmaker blog questions whether the $425,605 raised to date for Limits will get backers the product they crowdfunded.
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Is Limits legit? That’s the question posed today by Ray Maker of the DC Rainmaker tech blog. Maker, an American triathlete based in France, said he was “incredulous” about the Limits Technology power-meter. This was successfully funded on Indigogo in April – it has raised $425,605 to date, and is still soliciting for backers.

Limits is claimed to be an interchangeable cycling power-meter which will eventually retail for $384 but was placed on crowdfunding website Indiegogo for $249. 

The Limits power-meter was developed by a team said to be led by electrical engineer Gordon Drummond, who is the chief operating officer of CHE-EVC, a battery technology company based in The Boathouse in Aberdour, near Fife in Scotland. The Boathouse is a meeting venue and conference centre.

The initial funding goal of $100,000 for Limits was reached within the first three days of the crowdfunding campaign.

Drummond said at the time: “We will be able to overcome the greatest challenges of the power meter industry today which are mainly price, hardware neutrality and installation."

In an update on its Indigogo page Drummond, pictured, was shown on a road bike “testing” his product. However, it was not visible in the photograph, which showed Drummond with an iPad on his handlebars.

In a blog posting today, Maker asked whether Limits is “Really cool or really fake?”

Maker wrote:

“Ultimately – my long-standing offer to them … applies – prove to me that you’ve got something real. Jump on the roughly 75-minute flight from Scotland to Paris, stick a unit on a bike … and show me where you really are. I’m not expecting perfection in a beta product, but there needs to be clarity on actual product state (wherever it may be). We’ll collect data against other products in the market on the same bike, and put that data up for analysis.”

Power-meter companies pay close attention to Maker’s blog. Some have been known to fly engineers to France to get their products mentioned on DC Rainmaker, which is fiercely independent and does not accept advertising.

On a comment to a reader Maker agreed that the tone of the article was “strong” and “specifically designed to be incredulous.”

He added: “At this point the company has outright lied (such as saying a team had been using them when they didn’t even exist), as well as deceived people (implying prototypes had been there, when they didn’t exist). Those are simple facts.

“It’s never been an objective here in my writing to simply sit on the sidelines. When I see a company doing customers wrong, I’m going to call them on it (I’ve done so before with companies big and small). Sometimes it’s hinted at, and sometimes it’s over the top obvious. In this case, I gave the Limits team multiple chances to provide evidence."

Earlier today Limits Technology posted another one of its regular updates on its Indiegogo page, seeking more backers for “the most successful crowdfunding campaign from Scotland.”

[Maker claims Limits Technology has had incubator funding from Scottish Enterprise.]

“We are getting close to the end of the second wave of LIMITS Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign,” said Ioanna Kontoliou, marketing manager of both Limits Technology and CHE-EVC. 

“However, as we believe in transparency and this has been one of key values driving this crowdfunding project, we need to announce to you that this number has brought us close to the end of the second wave of LIMITS Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

“So, we’d like to offer you the last chance to buy LIMITS from $279 and receive in January.”

Similar "last chance" deals have been offered by Limits previously.

Maker doesn’t believe backers will receive product in January, or possibly ever.

“I want people to realize something is rotten,” he stressed.

Projects which gain funding on Indiegogo can continue to solicit for funds after the introduction period has “ended”.

Limits Technology, via CHE-EVC, has been asked to comment on this story.

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