Early supporters of Plastc, the E-Ink and touchscreen smart card that offered a number of security features, got some bad news on Thursday. Plastc Inc. is exploring options for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection, and none of the pre-orders will ship.
In 2014, when Plastc was introduced to the public, the concept was certainly interesting. Plastc was coming to market at a time when card-based security was under intense scrutiny, and people needed a way to securely manage their options.
The card featured touchscreen technology, driven by an E-Ink display, that would allow the user to integrate credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards into a single card. An archived copy of the original Plastc website contains a demo of the product.
It used Chip and Pin technology, offered the ability to display barcodes, featured remote wipe, and would lock itself should it be left behind at the counter. It even offered the ability to display a photo and signature, with the aim of preventing fraudulent usage.
At the time, those interested in the pre-launch could get one for $155.00.
But there were problems. A year and a half after initially offering the card to the public, the company still hadn't shipped.
In early 2016, the company told those who pre-ordered that FCC, CE, and ISO approval took longer than expected, and that the mobile apps were not ready, as the company had some development and backend engineering to perform. The expected ship date was pushed to August or September of 2016. The original ship date was the Summer of 2015.
On Thursday, Plastc announced that the delays would be permanent.
The company says they were expecting $3.5 million in Series A funding earlier this year, but the investors backed out. Plastc then made progress with another investor, who offered $6.75 million, which was expected to close last week.
"However, once again at the very last minute, our investor gave us notice that they have decided rescind their investment offer. The round was a signature away from closing and we were extremely caught off guard when they notified us yesterday they were backing out," Plastc said in a statement and in a letter to customers.
"It’s been a long road with a lot of obstacles. 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."
It isn't clear if anyone who pre-ordered is still eligible for refunds. The social media and support channels for Plastc have all been shut down and all company staff have been let go.
"We are disappointed and emotionally distraught, and while we know this is extremely disappointing for you, we want our backers to know that we did everything we could to make Plastc Card a reality," the Plastc statement concludes.