What didn’t come up in my interview with MoJoe was that the product was actually crowdfunded on Kickstarter. And like so many crowd-backed products we’ve covered, the MoJoe is late on delivering to its backers. Like, really late: four years at this point.
As a refresher, the MoJoe Brewer is a travel mug that you plug into a wall outlet or a car port to heat water, brew and enjoy coffee. According to the MoJoe Kickstarter campaign page, early backers could pick one up with a $79 pledge and expect to receive their brewer in May of 2016.
MoJoe raised $85,860 from 728 backers on Kickstarter. The company was also part of the 2019 cohort of the Accelerate Baltimore program, which says it offers a 13-week program along with $25,000 in seed funding.
Despite this, the MoJoe still hasn’t shipped. In my video interview, MoJoe Brewing Founder and CEO Joseph Hyman said that the company expected to ship in the second half of this year. But even that doesn’t seem to be a lock, with money still being an issue. In a follow up Linkedin exchange, Hyman wrote to me saying:
We have raised enough to get through plastic mold manufacturing, but need to close the round to get through product manufacturing and delivery.
Several issues pushed production: first some usability designs, then failed manufacturing molds, and then finally tariffs caused us to have to change manufacturers.
The round he’s referring to is a $500,000 seed round the company is currently trying to close. It sounds like if the round doesn’t close, the MoJoe might not ever make it to market. And even if the company does close a seed round, who knows what problems might arise in the move to mass production that could cost even more time and money?
All of the delays and the precarious position MoJoe now finds itself in has backers who plunked down money understandably upset. Part of their ire may have been the fact that MoJoe has not updated its Kickstarter campaign page since Jan. 2019. Our tipster told me that direct emails sent to the company have gone unanswered.
Backers will forgive a lot if the company running the campaign is transparent and honest, but a lack of communication brings distrust and breeds conspiracy theories. Just ask they guy behind the Rite Press.
Perhaps MoJoe is catching on. On its website (which still lists 2019 as the ship date), MoJoe posted an update this month on its corporate blog stating:
We’re making big changes in order to ramp up communication and operations around product delivery; we’re solidifying partnerships to make sure our manufacturing and product rollout run smoothly
MoJoe joins a long list of companies that discovered making crowdfunded hardware is hard. Hopefully MoJoe can right its ship and deliver the morning joe to to all of its backers.