Fundry is shutting down. Two weeks to withdraw your funds. Is that fair?

[UPDATE: Please take time to read the comment from Robert Barnes from Fundry, as they changed their policy and explained their choices!]

Fundry, a digital platform to finance software development, is shutting down.

Two days ago I wanted to give some funds to a WordPress plugin developer that maintains a great LightBox plugin, Dan Zappone, to encourage further development of this great tool.

At first, I liked very much Fundry. The idea was cool: let developers have a simple way to do fundraising for their projects. Neat.

In the end, I didn’t use the Fundry service because I didn’t like Fundry’s policy: they ask you to buy Fundry “credits” in advance before being able to actually fund any project.

Today, I get a message saying that Fundry shuts down… giving a 2 weeks time to get your money back.

Hmm…this remembers me of a Simpson episode where Homer, in the Itchy & Scratchy theme park,  changed all his dollars in  Itchy & Scratchy-land money. In the end, all shops of this place showed a disappointing sign: “We do not accept Itcy & Scratchy-land money anymore”.

itchy and scratchy money

 

And what if some people have other things to do in those two weeks, rather than reading Fundry’s email, or what if this email gets in your spam box?
This is the email I’ve received, read well the bolded part:

I’m sorry to announce that we will shortly be shutting down Fundry.com.

We appreciate the effort all our developers and funders have put in over the last 18 months, but unfortunately the service is currently not financially sustainable, and we can no longer commit to supporting it.

Following are the steps we will take to wind the service down in a quick, fair and efficient way.

1 – With immediate effect we will no longer be accepting new projects or pledges.

2 – All funders now have 2 weeks to retract their pledges. We will reimburse PayPal fees for both your pledge and your retracted pledge. All pledges that have not been retracted by 2nd March at 23:59 EST will be converted to donations for the pledged developer.

3 – All developers will then have 2 weeks to withdraw funds. We will reimburse PayPal fees for all withdrawn funds. All pledges that have not been retracted by 16th March at 23:59 EST will be converted to donations to Fundry.

Once again, we’re sorry that we can’t continue Fundry. Thanks again for your support.

I am really sorry that Fundry is “not financially sustainable”, but do you think this behaviour is ethic towards open source developers who believed in it?

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3 thoughts on “Fundry is shutting down. Two weeks to withdraw your funds. Is that fair?

  1. Hi Matteo – Thanks for the feedback and sorry that you don’t consider this fair. Fundry has always been geared around trying to support developers and the community. When we made the tough decision to shut down, we had to make some decisions on the way to do this and felt this was fairest for all. We have to place some time limits and hope that is this is time enough for funders to retract their pledges and developers to then withdraw their funds.

    Around half the funds have been retracted already but we’ll be sending more reminders to both funders and developers through the next few weeks.

    I can see how the part you have boldened can be construed as being unfair if people don’t receive the message in time and the balance effectively ends up with Fundry. Once the first 2 weeks is up we will be actively engaging with the developers to urge them to withdraw in time, but it is not feasible for us to do this with every funder, nor to refund every pledge, particularly since some pledges will have been completed and paid to developers.

    Of course we can’t guarantee that every funder will receive the message, but at least if they don’t respond then by default it will be converted to a donation to a project they likely already use. We will then be actively contacting each developer to remind them to withdraw these funds before the final deadline is reached. We are hoping that there won’t be any funds left over, but we can’t guarantee that all developers will respond in time, so we needed a fallback position if there were still funds left over.

    Something that we hadn’t considered (but should have) was donating the remainder to a charity. So I’m happy to report that we will now donate any remaining funds to http://www.opensource.org/donate

    Cheers, Rob

    Robert Barnes
    General Manager
    Stateless Systems (creators of Fundry.com)

    PS I like your Itchy and Scratchy analogy. The reason we chose the Fundry credits was simply to try to reduce Paypal fees which would have taken big chunks out of small pledges. We would have loved to use a simpler method but there really wasn’t a good alternative around.

  2. Dear Robert,

    thank you for your reply. An example of open communication and behaviour that many companies should learn from you. My sincere best wishes for your next project!

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