The maker of the failed iBackPack agrees to never use crowdfunding again
Doug Monahan is settling with the FTC
Doug Monahan, the creator of the failed iBackPack crowdfunding project, is settling with the Federal Trade Commission and has agreed to never crowdfund again. The agreement, filed today, comes after more than a year of back-and-forth between the agency and Monahan, who served as his own lawyer in the case. The FTC sued Monahan over claims that he misused the nearly $800,000 he raised on Kickstarter and Indiegogo to bring the backpacks to life and instead spent the money on personal expenses and bitcoin. The settlement expresses that Monahan doesn’t agree to any wrongdoing.
iBackPack launched on Indiegogo in 2015 and again on Kickstarter in 2016. Monahan billed it as a bag of the future that would “revolutionize” wearers’ lives. They’d be able to charge all their gadgets from the backpack, which also featured a built-in gun sleeve, Kevlar, RFID-blocking pockets, a Bluetooth speaker, and a mobile hotspot for a portable Wi-Fi connection. Thousands of people funded the bags across the two platforms.
Monahan told The Verge last year that he turned to crowdfunding after seeing the success of one of Kickstarter’s most notorious, failed gadgets: a cooler with a Bluetooth speaker, USB chargers, and a built-in blender. It raised over $13 million on Kickstarter and later sparked its own state investigation for failing to deliver units.
“I saw the Coolest Cooler, and I’m thinking, ‘Jesus, if people are going to give $14 million to a cooler for crying out loud that they only use every weekend, maybe, then what do they need?’” he asks. “They need a backpack. Everybody uses backpacks … I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d get $800,000 and have the FTC breathing down my neck calling me a lying, cheating, scumbag thief.”