May 11, 2016 | By Kira

The company behind Peachy Printer, the world’s first $100 3D printer, has just announced that nearly 50% of its $650,000 Kickstarter funds have been embezzled by the company’s financial manager, David Roe, and that there is little chance of seeing that money returned any time soon. Now, in true Canadian fashion, Peachy Printer is asking its 4,000+ backers: “is it too late now to say sorry?”

The hype surrounding Peachy Printer when it first launched in 2013 was unprecedented. A $100, resin-based desktop 3D printer? Was this for real? Rylan Grayston, product developer, co-founder, and CEO, convinced many of us (4,420 backers, to be exact), that it was, and managed to raise $651,091 CAD in Kickstarter funds within just 30 days.

Over the past few years however, the Canadian company has been plagued by delays and disappointments. Though its founders continued to update the Kickstarter with positive and ‘transparent’ updates, production issues kept popping up, delivery dates were pushed back, and increasingly, backers were left wondering if they’d ever see the Peachy sitting pretty on their desktops. (Our last update on the subject was in May 2015, when they promised shipments would begin in July.)

Now, we know exactly why. In a bizarre confessional/apology video (below), as well as an open letter to Canadian officials, Grayston explains how, in November 2014, he discovered that his business partner and financial manager, David Roe, had stolen $324,000 of the $650,000 raised, and used it to build himself a house in the province of Saskatchewan.

As Grayston explains, he and Roe were equal partners from the beginning, each owning 50% of the company’s shares. Roe helped fund the initial development and became the company’s Business Administration and Financial Management leader, while Grayston himself headed the Production Development and Technical Team.

At the time of the Peachy Printer’s Kickstarter launch, the company was not yet incorporated. Roe thus offered to use his personal bank account to receive the funds, and to hold them ‘in trust’ until a corporate bank account could be set up.

A few weeks after the Kickstarter ended, Peachy Printer did set up a corporate account, and the plan was for Roe to transfer the funds. With every passing week, however, he came up with excuse after excuse, until finally, in November 2014, Grayston confronted him and found out the truth: Roe had stolen and spent $324,716.01 of Peachy Printer’s money for his own personal use.

To put that into perspective, says Grayston, if a backer pledged $190, only $76 of that actually made it towards the 3D printer’s development, the rest going straight into Roe’s new house.

Grayston immediately sought legal council, who advised him not to go public, nor to take this to authorities, but rather to pursue repayment (Roe has apparently repaid roughly $107,000, less than half). Over the past 18 months he claims, he and his team worked tireless to try and find a solution to all of this, to get the money back and fulfill their promise of bringing a $100 3D printer to market. Though they never wanted to lie to their backers, they simply hoped, it seems, that the truth would never have to come out.

Unfortunately for Grayston, a few months ago, he was forced to pull the plug on his last escape plan, having finally run out of money. “Every update was real, every shipping estimate was genuine,” he said. “We really were so close to pulling it off, even without the missing money.”

 

Peachy Printer CEO Rylan Grayston: “David was put in a position of power and trust...that makes it all the more shocking that he would even do such atrocious things.” 

So what now? It seems like quite a straightforward story of a corrupt business owner and the risks of crowdfunding campaigns. Yet Grayston, who does seem genuinely torn up, hasn’t lost hope yet. In October 2015, he finally contacted Canadian authorities, and is now urging as many backers as possible to do the same. The Peachy Printer website has been replaced by an executive summary of events and "evidence package" complete with recorded phone calls, legal documents, and bank statements. He seems to hope that, if nothing else, his nightmarish experience could be a catalyst to spur change between the crowdfunding community, criminals, and authorities.

“It is very important that the police and policy makers of Canada hear from as many people as possible that this is a problem that needs to be taken seriously. I have written an open letter, and I hope you will too,” he said. “It's time for Canada to set a precedent like the one set in the United States, that immoral behavior will not be tolerated in crowdfunding.”

Despite Grayston’s attempts to turn this story into a noble cause, the fact remains for thousands of backers, and for the 3D printing community at large, that it is unlikely they will ever see the Peachy Printer $100 desktop fabricator come to life. For backers especially, it could mean years before they see their money again, if at all.

There will undoubtedly be news to follow soon as the 3D printing community, Kickstarter, and potentially even Canadian authorities weigh in. In the meantime, Grayston wants to leave his backers with a sliver of a silver lining: “Mark my words. This is not over. We’ve taken a huge blow, but the fact still remains hat we truly have created the world’s first $100 3D printer. Those of you that risked your money on something many said was impossible, were right. And that is a fact that no one can steal from this group of thousands of people.”

Watch the confessional/apology video below and let us know what you think. Should Peachy Printer have come forward earlier? What should backers do now? And what will become of the world's first $100 3D printer?

 

 

Thanks to [Nicolas] for the tip.

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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stevet wrote at 5/12/2016 8:13:40 PM:

Lets publish the address of this guys house online and see what happens :)

Mike wrote at 5/12/2016 4:26:19 PM:

And there was SmartMaker who did the same. And soon we may find out Glowforge is the same too.

CRAIG BILLINGS wrote at 5/12/2016 1:43:58 PM:

AND this is why a kickstarter campaign is NOT a business. We decided long ago to not do a crowdfunding campaign. We want to build a business, not make quick cash. In 3 years we have developed our 3d printer and sold many units. We are on our way to having the most successful year, WITHOUT crowdfunding. We may launch a crowdfunding campaign in the future but only because we have PROOF that our product works and is being used. So our crowdfunding goal would be to raise funds for mass marketing our 3D printer. THAT is one of the purposes of crowd funding.

Nick wrote at 5/12/2016 12:06:38 PM:

As a backer too, I never completely expected something to end on my desk. As reminded here or elsewhere, crowd-funding is risky business, and not a marketplace to buy fund new toys. Justice in on its way, we'll see what happens in a few years, but I'm happy a few of my money was used for a few people to have fun and experiment with. All is not lost since Grayston published everything as opensource (schematics, hardware, software) and someone else could continue the journey... If a lesson might be learned, on 3ders like any other website which made a pointer to a crowd-funding campaign, is always to end the article with "you may or may not actualy get anything from it" to stress again the ricky part...

-dclunie wrote at 5/12/2016 2:46:18 AM:

was more close to a million (if you count the other revenue ave) check out rich's video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ain1y9_ZLuo&feature=autoshare its a great look at things.

Dennis wrote at 5/11/2016 11:14:00 PM:

why don't they just sell the house.

Peachy Kean wrote at 5/11/2016 10:03:41 PM:

the guy always looks like he just smelled a fart and is confused.

Peachy Printer Owes me My Money Back wrote at 5/11/2016 9:35:19 PM:

This is why like crowdspeaking more than crowdfunding. I like supporting creators but we keep getting burnt in crowdfunding. This is not a situation where they messed up, these people literally stole our money and made a satire youtube video to mock us!

Simon wrote at 5/11/2016 6:41:23 PM:

I'm a backer too and receiving that printer was just for the principle because, as you say, Waleran, it's obsolete. Could have make a great ornament in my office.

J Harris wrote at 5/11/2016 6:32:55 PM:

Look into the ibox nano and see what Trent did with the money. Most of us did not get a printer and it turned into a total scam. I'm pretty much done with Kickstarter now unless it's someone I know and can trust.

Waleran wrote at 5/11/2016 5:40:00 PM:

I'm a backer but I'd largely discounted the investment and didn't expect to use the printer if it ever arrived. The market has moved on since 2013 and there is much more functionality available now for just a few dollars more. I am, however, feeling mislead by the updates we have been receiving over the past years. The delays had become a bit of a joke; we now know why.



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