Kickstarter requires that each user account be linked to an American address, and Teknision recruited a business affiliate from the United States to sign it up to the website. But that person, whom the firm did not name, shut down the account that Teknision was using to receive online payments and lost the credit card information from more than 5,000 backers who had pledged money to the cause.
Teknision contacted Kickstarter to determine if there was a way to salvage the credit card information, but was told that the only thing to do is set up a new account using a new American address, said co-founder and creative director Stephen Mackenzie.
"We have to start again," he said. "We're going to do half the time and half the amount."
Instead of attempting to raise $50,000 in one month, Teknision will ask for $25,000 in 15 days. If that amount is not raised in full, however, the company won't see a penny of it due to Kickstarter's all-or-nothing policy stating that companies must reach their fundraising target to access the money.
Teknision is waiting to secure a new account and is also setting up an online store using Ottawa-based Shopify's platform so that customers unwilling to re-commit via Kickstarter can still pre-order the product.
"We're just playing the waiting game," Mr. Mackenzie said, adding that the company hopes to be back on Kickstarter early next week.
The failed fundraising page is still listed online, citing 5,168 backers willing to contribute $50,679 total for the company's Chameleon product, which offers a customized home screen for Android tablets.
Thankfully, the cash accumulated by the fundraising campaign was only part of the reason the company launched on Kickstarter. The $50,000 originally raised wouldn't have fully covered the cost of development for the software, and $25,000 won't even come close. It will, however, raise awareness of the product and act as low-tech market research to see how much customers are willing to pay.
While competing websites such as Indiegogo do exist, none can compete with Kickstarter's traffic - which is why it's frustrating that the popular site makes it difficult for Canadians to participate, said Teknision president and co-founder Gabor Vida.
"I think absolutely that should change," he said. "It doesn't make business sense to make it difficult for anybody."
Teknision, founded in 2001, worked with Ottawa-based QNX Software to develop the BlackBerry PlayBook's operating system in 2010.