Zano: How Instant Success May Lead You to Failure 📉👎

The startup produced compact self-driving drones that could take pictures and videos from the air. It was so small that could be placed on the one’s palm.

The drone automatically tracked the location of its owner and followed them. Zano promised customers that the device would be able to work for up to 15 minutes on a single charge.

To launch the serial production, the founders published the idea of Zano on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. They needed to validate the demand and raise the minimum of $190,000.

Surprisingly, the project achieved a resounding success — in just one day Zano raised over $1 million. Overall amount reached the historic high of $3,5 million which proved that people believed in the idea of cutting-edge drones.

The company guaranteed to deliver all orders in June 2015 — six months after the end of the crowdfunding campaign. Later, Zano was presented at the international exhibition CES among the best technologies of the year.

The startup kept customers informed of how the drones development was going. They told Kickstarter users about the materials that had arrived, shot videos in laboratories and factories. Seemingly, everything was going like clockwork.

In the first half of 2015, Zano began to have delays in the shipping of key parts and couldn’t deliver drones to customers on time.

As soon as buyers received their orders, they were strongly dissatisfied — Zano could barely fly, stayed in the air for only a few minutes, was not able to overcome obstacles, etc.

In mid-November 2015, the project management announced the bankruptcy of the company. It became clear that the team not only spent all the proceeds on Kickstarter, but also owed creditors $1,5 million.

❌Failure Cause

The quick success made Zano literally overloaded with orders, which it failed to serve physically, technically, and psychologically in a high-quality and timely manner.

Such a rapid growth caused panic in the development team. Instead of starting with small test batches, gradually expanding production with an emphasis on quality and testing, Zano started mass production of the raw product.

Despite the loss of control over the situation, the management hid the true state of affairs from subordinates and partners. So the two leading developers had no idea how close the project was to failure.