Zero Point Owner and Retired Navy CWO Perry Sasnett sent us this note about his recent experience with crowdfunding.
Dear SSD Fans,
Recently, Soldier Systems had an advance post of Zero Point’s first foray into crowdfunding during the ADS Warrior West Show. My intent, as the post states, was to launch the Zero Point Down Range Tool (DRT) this last week on Kickstarter. Well, after a substantial effort and some financial investment our project was REJECTED. Of course we appealed and were more than willing to adjust our campaign to fit into what we thought was the Kickstarter guideline, but alas, it was still a No-Go.
Now Kickstarter’s guidelines state “No Weapons, replicas of weapons, and weapon accessories.” Now, the DRT is a lot of things, to include an AR maintenance tool, but to call it a weapon accessory is a bit of a stretch if you ask me. If you see the video you’ll notice that my 8 & 5 year old daughters are using it, even eating with it.
Kickstarter, as a private, multi-billion dollar company can pretty much do whatever they want within legal reason of course, but I just have this…feeling, a feeling that there may be more to our rejected project than not falling within Kickstarter’s rules, whatever those really are. And I’m not the only one.
Below is the appeal letter we sent to Kickstarter and below that is a screen shot of their final response. Also you’ll see several links to previous and/or existing KS campaigns that are either weapons or have a weapon flavor to them. Additionally, I think we’re a very responsible minded company because last year someone on my staff came across a campaign that had no business being in the very public domain.
The above, for those of you not familiar with high-end EOD procedure, is a circuit that can do a few things: teach one how to bypass monitored alarm systems as well as a potential monitored IED circuit. Well, we contacted the individual about the inappropriateness of his campaign and he understandably and graciously pulled it. Good on him! Not so good on Kickstarter’s ignorance of real threats, intended or not.
I’m still a big fan of the crowdfunding idea, wish I had thought of it first, and in all likelihood will attempt to use Kickstarter for some of our future efforts, but I do have concerns that they may not be Fox News (fair and balanced) and without definitive guideline procedures or even someone I can chat with prior to investing in a campaign there’s significant risk which is proportionate to the scope of the project itself.
There is some good news…Indiegogo, baby! Please check out our DRT campaign on Indiegogo.
If you’re down in SOFIC please drop by booth #1536 to see one in person. Always up for feedback in order to improve our kit.
In closing, for those successful with crowdfunding, Congrats! For those considering crowdfunding I recommend some level of caution, depending on the nature of your project and definitely do as much research and socializing as possible. Go into it with eyes open…it’s a time and money investment, period. The percentage of successful campaigns is not favorable either, ~30% for Kickstarter and ~10% for Indiegogo. Of course that’s assuming your project is approved to begin with.
Thanks for your time, look forward to hearing from you and Stay Safe!
Perry Sasnett (USN CWO ret.)
Zero Point’s Founder, CEO
Perry’s appeal is below:
Dear Kickstarter Team,
I recently submitted my project for your review and was just notified that it was declined for falling outside of your rules. I would like to take this opportunity to appeal your decision as I believe my project does meet your guidelines and perhaps my presentation did not fully convey the vast amount of features that my invention offers. According to the e-mail that I received in response to my submission, the message states, “All projects must fit into one of our 15 categories and abide by our rules. Weapon, replicas of weapons and weapons accessories are not permitted on Kickstarter”.
The DRT is neither a weapon, weapon replica, nor intended to be used as a weapon. The DRT is a multi-tool, that has over 50 different features that can be used in various situations such as camping, survival, or everyday fixes around the home. Like any other multi-tool it is multi-functional and can be repurposed by the end-user should they desire; the possibilities for use are endless.
Referencing the below projects, I am not certain exactly what in my project did not meet your requirements because the email I received did not go in to great detail and I wasn’t too sure after viewing these earlier projects.
Any guidance would be greatly appreciated as this my first time giving Kickstarter a go. For example, was the imagery of the firearm in the video prohibited? In the first link above for the project, Femme Fatale, there are many weapons pictured as well as in the project Iowa Weapons Sci-Fi short film.
Would the kubotan feature have been considered prohibited in terms of a self-defense item? I was just curious because the Krav Maga training and also the Beer Rambit projects promote self-defense products and a multi-tool identified for use as a kubotan. Again, this is my first foray into crowdfunding so I just want to be certain that my project is in sync with your community standards.
My goal is to highlight some of the key features of the DRT which include:
• Multiple Nut Drivers
• Can Opening and Prying for Camping, Outdoor, and Indoor Use
• Wire-stripping functions for home or work
• Multiple Measuring capabilities for home, office, or school
• Micro-storage for Outdoor, Indoor, and Everyday Carry
• Unlimited optional accessory storage
• Glass Breaker
Again, this is a multi-tool designed with over 50 different tools and features so the possibilities really are endless and I would really like to share this with not only former military operators such as myself, but regular guys who enjoy the outdoors, moms and dads who need to fix their children’s bicycle and toys if needed, and emergency personnel who may need a safety tool for a rescue extraction.
I really appreciate this opportunity and the platform that Kickstarter has provided to launch my project and get it in front of people who may be interested in its features. I would like to take this opportunity to resubmit my video to better capture the diverse functions of the product and your diverse audience. Thank you for your time and consideration.