Biotar Re-Birth is No More... So is Your Kickstarter Money

biotar lens.jpgThe German company Net SE has been behind many successful Kickstarter campaigns in the last few years to bring back beloved dead lenses back to the market. They were behind the re-birth of Meyer Optik, Emil Busch, C.P. Goerz, Ihagee, Oprema Jena, and A. Schacht products... 

But now they're insolvent. 

This is a tough one to swallow as they still had a few active and recent campaigns, like their Oprema Jena Biotar campaign that raised over half a million dollars. But now that lens is gone and so is your money if you invested in that campaign. 

I said successful campaigns earlier because Net SE had actually followed through and made some of their lenses in the past. A three-year-old campaign for a Meyer Optik Trioplan lens produced exactly that. Which made it easier for people to invest in their products.

This is one of the pitfalls of pre-ordering any product, but it's even more true for crowdsourcing campaigns. Every time you invest in a crowdsourced product, there's a risk you won't get your product, or that it will get delayed. 

Even though there's still a website, Net SE is completely dead. German photo publication Photoscala was the first to publish an official notice and said if you have any claims against the company then you'll have to direct them to a law firm. 

When a company is Insolvent, they're claiming they can't pay back money owed due to a lack of assets. Insolvency proceedings have already started with Net SE which means anyone backing their products will get neither the product or their money back. Indiegogo, Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms also reject all responsibility and have no liability in cases like this. 

The law protects failed businesses more than it does investors in a failed business. It's hard to know what happened or where they went wrong. Where's the money from the campaign? Did they use it to make lenses, if so, where are those lenses? Shouldn't someone be accountable if they're re-purposing funds? The questions will drive you mad because it's a flawed system. 

Not every company is like Net SE though, and there are still some pretty amazing products that have and will come out of crowdfunding. Just remember the risk is always there.