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Ukrainian crowdfunding project suspected of fraud

posted Aug 6, 2014, 12:30 AM by Siamak Ebarhimi

A group claiming to be technology innovators with Ukrainian roots is facing a backlash on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo where some 70 backers have asked for a refund for a projector watch, according to the comments section of the product.  

A number of technology websites such as, thenextweb, connectedly, smartwatchforum and techgeekforever, have questioned whether the proposed product – a watch fitted with a tiny projector that beams time and notifications about calls, emails and text messages when connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth – is the real deal. crowdfunding marketing

The naysayers are so far in the minority among over 4,660 funders, and the group, Ritot, has raised nearly $760,000 out of a modestly
initial goal of $50,000. Started on July 7, the group can collect the money once the campaign ends on Aug. 21, according to Indiegogo’s terms of use.   crowdfunding advertising

Still, online detractors say there are a number of red flags that give rise to the campaign’s alleged fraud. For starters, the company’s officers have changed since the campaign kicked off in July, but some of their pictures have not. 

Particularly, the founder initially was named Ivan Powell, but changed to Michael Medvid, yet the accompanying picture is still the same. The company manufacturing and fulfillment officer went from being George Moore to Oleg Polovin, yet the corresponding picture for that position is identical. indiegogo marketing

Responsible for “project management, communication and marketing,” Medvid is allegedly from Ukraine as is the company, which claims to have an office in San Francisco, according to its product description page on Indiegogo. Ritot’s website doesn’t list an address for its Californian or Ukrainian office. The domain name of its website is registered to a Scottsdale, Arizona address, according to Godaddy.  kickstarter marketing

When the Kyiv Post emailed Ritot’s press service, a person calling himself Michael replied: “We know that we have [a] media war with our competitors.” He failed to respond to questions about the product’s technical specifications and to address the identification issues of the company’s officers. 

Efforts to meet with and verify the identity of Michael in person failed. “This person has not yet verified their account with any social networks,” reads an Indiegogo description of the Ritot company founder claimant. kickstarter project

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By David Khorram