Prototyped…. to Death?
In early 2013, Arkami revealed a really cool concept for password management. A USB/Bluetooth device that would store encrypted keywords and be accessible by either plugging it into a computer or connecting to a smart phone using an app. They showed it at CES and ran a Kickstarter campaign, which raised almost half a million dollars. They added another three million in funding from investors. The myIDkey had a promising future.
Investors were promised the product would be ready in September. That didn’t happen. Instead of delivering the device as promised, components were upgraded, software revised and features were added and/or changed. Many of the changes were to help deliver the promised features on schedule, but they seemed to have the opposite effect, with more delays and very few myIDkey’s delivered to Kickstarter backers.
Arkami didn’t’ sit still while postponing release. New features – like using the fingerprint reader as a scrollbar – were added while investors waited for a shipping product. A few of the devices were shipped, and the reaction was not good. The few who received their myIDkey complained that devices were broken out of the box, or broke after very little use. According to complaints, buttons stopped working and the fingerprint scanner was hard to calibrate.
On June 17, 2014, the company closed down due to lack of funds.
Release or Wait
Should Arkami have released the myIDkey on time with fewer features? Would getting the product into people’ hands sooner and adding features later have been wiser? Would producing the product as originally pitched have provided some breathing room and time for developing advanced features? The CEO claims there will be a big announcement soon, but wouldn’t it have been better to have used the $150,000 originally sought to produce the product and keep all the extra funds for R&D and reserves?
The saga of myIDkey raises many questions, but so far provides very few answers.