Lots of consumers like to "invest" in new products and schemes promoted on Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other crowd-funding platforms. Professional investors, wary of getting a haircut, have usually passed on the projects being promoted. But maybe you could at least get a close shave?
Something called Skarp -- which promotes itself as a laser-powered razor -- promises just that: a razor-smooth shave that doesn't involve a blade. Nothing touches your skin except a laser beam that whisks away those rascally whiskers.
Sounds too good to be true? Maybe so, but eager "investors" threw $4 million at it before it was excised from Kickstarter. It has now popped back up on Indiegogo, where it had raised nearly $86,000 by midday.
No one seems to know quite why it was razored off Kickstarter, although Business Insider suggests there may be suspicions of fraud, or at least excessive exuberance. Kickstarter requires products to have a working prototype before being promoted to investors eager to rid themselves of excess cash. There's some suspicion that Skarp may have skipped that step, according to the Business Insider report.
Skarp is the brainchild of two Swedish tinkerers who say their device will not only give you the closest shave ever but also rid landfills of all those sharp and scary old razors. Admittedly, this may not be the most pressing environmental problem the world faces but every little bit, perhaps, helps.
As for the "investment" value of the gadgets, brainstorms and notions promoted on these crowd-funding sites, it is negligible to the point of being non-existent.
Real investors do due diligence, a close examination of the bona fides of companies and their founders. They also get an equity stake in the form of stock or its equivalent. They share in the future earnings, if any. And they have certain rights, depending on the structure of the company, its place of incorporation and so forth.,
On crowd-funding sites, by contrast, about the best you can hope for is a close shave. Or a haircut.