The Xeko campaign is a teensy bit on the controversial side, leaving about 973 backers without rewards, no game, and bent out of shape. With Xeko, there’s a lot of miscommunication, or a lack of communication altogether and some really in depth legal complications that makes the entire situation really confusing.
Several years back, Amy Tucker created a trading card game about endangered species and wanted to get children more interested in animals and ecosystem preservation. Xeko attracted some attention and a little bit of a fan base, Amy decided it would be a great idea to make the game digital. For that, she launched the Kickstarter campaign and teamed up with Waba to make the magic happen. Back in July 2012, Xeko was majorly funded on Kickstarter for over $250K.
Now is where things get a little complex.
In the very, very beginning, according to a Facebook post and Kickstarter comment in December 2013, and to Crunchbase, Xeko was affiliated with Hairy Entertainment when it was a card game, founded back in 2009. In these posts it’s indicated that Hairy Entertainment went bankrupt; Waba/Oomba had purchased all of the Xeko assets from them through an “Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors.” For this process, the team paid about $180K for Xeko.
According to a post in the Kickstarter comments page from the Xeko team, Amy had teamed up with Waba, Inc to digitize Xeko in the first place, which was run by Nolan Bushnell and Michael Williams. Unfortunately, when they were unable to secure a website for Waba, they changed their name to Oomba and even though legally they were considered Waba, they were performing business under the name of Oomba. Down the line Oomba/Waba combined with play140, LLC (April 1st, 2012), a social media and game startup company. As a result, Oomba Inc. was formed. That September, Oomba made another acquisition and purchased Sifaka Productions, completing their team.
Problem? They did this just a few months after the Kickstarter campaign. More specifically, during a period of no communication after the campaign. In fact, there weren’t any updates between early August and late March of the next year. During this period, Oomba, the company that ran the Kickstarter campaign, made big company purchases.
Oomba and Waba are the same entity but were unable to legally merge together since “the merger required that the Kickstarter campaign be complete and that there be no outstanding lawsuits.” Just before the completion of the campaign, they were sued by Hairy Entertainment, which blocked the “merger.”
During the campaign, the updates were very informational and Amy seemed pretty loyal to her backers but once the campaign concluded, the communication changed. In the months that followed the campaign, the few updates that were posted were mainly about preparing the rewards and assuring backers they would receive them soon. Unfortunately, those rewards were never received nor were refunds given out.
What’s interesting about their investments/acquisitions, is according to the December 13, 2012 Facebook post concerning what went wrong with Xeko is that just a few days before the conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign they were “served with a lawsuit by one of the directors of Hairy Entertainment,” though the specifics of the lawsuit itself weren’t mentioned out of respect.
But there was more bad news, “the owner of Xeko and Elf Island has run out of money and is incapable of continuing.” So, as of December 2013, Oomba was considered to be completely out of money and unable to work on Xeko. Additionally, the assets for Xeko and Elf Island were going to be put up for sale for any parties interested in working on the game. The project was canceled and Amy Tucker wouldn’t be able to digitize Xeko.
Unfortunately, if you do a quick search on Crunchbase, Oomba’s finances are a little complicated. In October 2013, the company was struggling with debt like the Facebook post claimed but they received debt financing from SOSVentures (venture firm helping startups), Private Capital Network (angel investor), and Nolan Bushnell, to the tune of $1.3 million. The following month, they received $1 million from an angel investor. I was unable to find any information about what they were working on during that time period and there’s no record of company purchases/acquisitions/ or projects. But the company did stop making updates on the Kickstarter page June 10, 2013 and was last heard from December 17th, the same year, clearing up more information about what happened in the Kickstarter comments.
But in May 2014 they did receive $1.4 million from an angel investor, the Xeko website is no longer up, communication is minimal, and there are no rewards. Waba went bankrupt. Oomba has separated itself from Xeko and no longer has the assets. Oomba has become a software company concentrating on cloud-based socializing for online tournaments, which is currently in its Beta stage.
All around, it’s tough to say whether or not Xeko will continue development, if it was ever getting developed to begin with. But it doesn’t seem like Oomba will be taking a step in that direction anytime soon.
Know of other Kickstarter projects that have just dropped off the map? Want us to do some digging and see what’s going on? Comment below, or shoot us an email and we’ll start nosing around.
Read more Kickstarter MIA articles right here for more sad crowdfunding tales.