Smart payments card startup Plastc files for bankruptcy having blown $9M from crowdsourcing campaign


Despite raising $9 million in a crowdfunding campaign, smart payments card startup Plastc Inc. has filed for bankruptcy after not managing to deliver even one card.

The company, founded in 2013, was attempting to build the Plastc Card, a credit card-shaped smart card that in conjunction with an app could store credit, debit, gift, loyalty and membership cards on a single device. The card was intended to include a secure PIN lock, proximity alerts and a unique “Return Me” mode that the company claimed would make it more secure than both traditional credit cards and other payment technologies.

Trouble at the company first arose in 2016 when some of those who had placed orders for the card through the crowdfunding campaign took to Reddit to complain about unmet delivery schedules. Chief Executive Officer Ryan Marquis offered refunds but urged those complaining to be patient. The company then blamed a typhoon in Asia for causing more delays, changing the shipping date to late in the fourth quarter, which it also failed to meet.

In a statement on its site, Marquis is now suggesting that two attempts to raise funds from venture capital firms had fallen through at the last minute. “It’s been a long road with a lot of obstacles,” Marquis wrote. “The support of our amazing backers has been incredible, which makes this announcement even harder. We were so incredibly ready for production in order to hit our deadlines but without capital it is impossible for us to move forward and we will not be able to fulfill any pre-orders.”

The company made no specific mention of providing refunds either, but given its current bankruptcy status, that’s unlikely to happen.

Plastc is not the first company to struggle in the space. Coin Inc. was acquired by FitBit Inc. in 2016 in a talent and intellectual property buy that saw the company’s core product, a card that did manage to ship but struggled with technical problems, subsequently shut down.

Image: Plastc