The Pico U

PicoBrew announced on Friday that they are postponing the Kickstarter campaign for the Pico U, the latest generation Pico brewing appliance. The company still plans on shipping it early next year.

The move, which was announced to backers via an email message (and on the Kickstarter website), cites a full plate of other products (such as the Picostill and the Picobrew Z, the modular pro model successor the Zymatic) as the reason for the delay. PicoBrew plans to relaunch a new Kickstarter campaign for the Pico U in a couple months.

Canceling a campaign that had raised $435 thousand and was well past the Kickstarter funding threshold is a bit surprising. However, the Pico U was trending lower than last year’s Pico C campaign, which had raised over $1.9 million and became the most highly funded food-related Kickstarter campaign of all time.

PicoBrew CEO Bill Mitchell told me on Friday over the phone that they attributed the lower overall funding in large part due to timing. They launched the campaign in early summer, a time of year which tends to attract lower funding numbers than earlier in the spring, which is when Picobrew has launched in the past.

While that makes sense, canceling a strong (by most standards) Kickstarter campaign still holds some risks for PicoBrew.  Up to this point, the company has had only successful campaigns; the Pico U cancellation is the first exception to what was a previously unblemished record. And while a cancellation is by no means a failed campaign — again, they were well over the funding target — at the very least it’s an asterisk. PicoBrew is also counting on a large number of the backers to come back in the fall, something which isn’t entirely guaranteed.

The reactions to the cancellation on the campaign’s page were mixed, with some backers expressing disappointment…

… while others gave credit to PicoBrew for their transparency.

To make things right, PicoBrew has offered backers of the Pico U an opportunity to buy the Pico C for $249, the same price the company plans to sell the Pico U for at retail.

Mitchell told me one lesson from the Pico U campaign is that there is strong interest in bring-your-own ingredient option for Pico appliances.  I’m not surprised at all, since I cited the reliance on company supplied pods as perhaps the biggest thing standing between Pico products and wider adoption. Because of this interest, the company plans to push fill-your-own PicoPak pulp containers into beta with some existing Pico C users. In the longer term, it has plans to develop a reusable polycarbonate ingredient holder for the Pico.

The full letter from PicoBrew CEO Bill Mitchell is below:

Hello Kickstarter Backers,

We’re still just as excited about the Pico U campaign as you are, but due to all of the great products we are currently shipping (or that are shipping sooner than Pico U) we have made the tough call to postpone the campaign.

First, since we are ending the campaign early, nobody’s credit cards have been charged.

Why postpone the campaign? In short, we’ve got a lot on our plates right now that has to come before Pico U: finishing shipping our immensely successful PicoStill and starting shipment of our popular Z Series. So it just makes more sense to relaunch the Pico U campaign later in the year. Relaunching the campaign in a few months will also allow us to act on all the things we’ve learned from you over the last few weeks and to deliver your Pico U closer to the end of our Kickstarter campaign.

We’ve heard all your suggestions and thoughts and we are so thankful for your feedback! As a special “Thank You” for being part of this campaign (and for those who don’t want to wait for 2019 to start brewing) we’re giving Kickstarter backers a special deal on Pico C. Get your Pico C for an unprecedented special price of just $249, plus shipping, by using the coupon code PICOUKICKSTARTER at checkout. We’ve also heard your enthusiasm for Fusion and BYO and we’re working on bringing those benefits to you early on your Pico C as well. Please stay tuned by signing up to our email list HERE.

Once again, thank you and we’re sorry! You’re the best, we love you, and we thank you for supporting PicoBrew. If you’re waiting for a PicoStill or a Z to ship, we hope you are happy with this news, as it means more focus on those products. If you had your heart set on a Pico U, we still anticipate that product releasing in the first half of 2019, so it is not unreasonable to expect a Kickstarter closer to the release date.

Thanks again,
Bill Mitchell
Chief PicoBrewer

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