From the world of sad, failed Kickstarter projects comes today’s news that the ZPM Espresso Machine, billed as “a home espresso machine that delivers true cafe quality with groundbreaking connectivity” and funded on Kickstarter to the tune of $369,569 dollars, has officially kicked the proverbial bucket, after a long struggle of a development process.

zpm rendering

A disgruntled ZPM backer leaked the following email to Sprudge this morning (it has since appeared in its entirety on Reddit):

Hello Everyone!

Unfortunately we do not have good news to report. At the beginning of December our COO informed us that, effective immediately and with no notice, she would be leaving the company and taking most of our team with her. Since then she’s been radio silent. This halted the progress the company was making, and left us reeling.

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We explored our legal options, started a search for a new team, and reached out to our existing investors to get a bridge round together. Even though they were very supportive, at the end of the day, we were not able to get a big enough bridge round together to move forward. While we’ve looked into several other financing options, after serious consideration, we reached the decision to shut the company down. We are currently ending all operations.

It was an incredibly difficult choice to make, given the funds, effort, and time put into the company. We have poured 3+ years of our lives and all our personal savings into ZPM, because we believed — and still do — that there is a huge need in the market for what we’re doing, and that we’ve made an amazing product that can get the job done.

We deeply regret that it’s coming to an end in this way, especially given how painfully close we are to completion. However we want you to know that you have been incredible backers, and it has been an absolute honor to be working on your behalf and have you guys behind us. Your support and expertise was invaluable, and we wouldn’t have gotten nearly as far as we did without everyone’s support and advice. Thank you for believing in us — we are very sorry to disappoint.

The vast majority of the funds have been spent on development and inventory, and we will most likely be unable to offer refunds. However, we are currently having conversations with several other parties to see if we can’t create a situation where your pledges are still honored and you guys get something for all your support of this project. Please stay tuned — we will keep you up-to-date on this front in the coming month, and very much hope to see a silver lining come out of it.

If nothing does, then we will be pushing out as much as we can, and open-sourcing and releasing all our designs and code. Either way, we will also later be putting out information on the financials and challenges we faced that we were unable to openly discuss before.

Thank you all very much. Working on this project was the most ambitious and meaningful undertaking any of us have ever attempted. Getting to know all of you, and working to create some seriously cool technology was one of the most rewarding things we’ve ever done. We are deeply and truly sorry that despite our best efforts, we were not able to get this machine across the finish line.

Gleb, Igor, and Janet
Team ZPM [/showhide]

Our disgruntled tipster reports that more than 300 individual backers of ZPM are filing a class action lawsuit against the company, and Kickstarter itself may be named in the action. The aforementioned Reddit thread is a treasure trove of amateur legalese on the subject, but the most interesting post comes from user MeAndMyLlama, who claims to have already received a refund on the failed project from his credit card company:

I filed a dispute with my CC company (Discover) yesterday, before the official announcement, and, at this very moment I have a credit on my account for $378.99. There is a 30 day review period. If Discover can achieve a chargeback, fine, if they can’t, my liability protection covers the fraudulent charge. If they find out I’m full of shit and ZPM is still able to deliver the machine I paid for, then the unicorns have finally won the war for heaven and we can all rest easy. And my credit would also disappear.

If you’re looking for some high quality humpday coffee gossip to read, get yourself over to the Reddit thread on the ZPM—it’s full of drama, intrigue, and llama-related user names. For their part, ZPM’s blog hasn’t updated since October, 2014, and they’ve been dark on Twitter since November.

This story is developing…

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