The Coolest Cooler is a multifunctional cooler created through a crowdfunding campaign. Which raised more than $13 million in 2014. Being a total success as an innovative product on the Internet. Although it enjoyed a lot of popularity, not everything was rosy. After some problems, time passed and few people received their Coolest Cooler. Why…? Today we’ll analyze the question.

The Coolest Cooler

Before beginning to talk about the Coolest Cooler, it’s necessary to speak first of its creator. Ryan Grepper is an American man from the city of Portland, Oregon. Not much is known about his past life, except that he used to work in medical sales around the year 2000. Later, he would leave this job to look for another part-time job. In order to devote himself to becoming what he was most passionate about: an inventor.

According to an interview with The Washington Post, he had a bad streak as an inventor that lasted for 14 long years of failures. Among his inventions was a dog bowl that could be folded up to the size of a credit card. And a baggage weight meter to protect travelers from airline fees.

ryan grepper crowdfunding
Ryan Grepper, the inventor behind the Coolest Cooler and founder of the company responsible for his brand. Source: Washington Post

However, he always had problems to market his inventions. Things changed when in 2009, Kickstarter had been founded and a crowdfunding boom appeared afterwards. Through which thousands of inventors, artists, entrepreneurs and musicians would finance their projects years later. That was very encouraging to Ryan, who sooner than later would start designing what would be the Coolest Cooler.

Creation and crowdfunding campaign

Ryan created the product using a lawnmower, to build a portable gas blender. After having built a cooler with the stereo of a car, it occurred to him that he could create a multifunctional product through 3D printing and commercialize it. At first, he created some dud prototypes of the Coolest Cooler, until he was satisfied. At that time he launched the first crowdfunding campaign to finance his idea.

This happened in November of 2013, he tried to collect $120,000 exact to manufacture the product. But he was unsuccessful. Even though it was a disappointment for Ryan, he was determined to try again. And so he did. It took 8 months to completely redesign the Coolest Cooler. And basically fix everything that was wrong with his campaign and product presentation. Something that proved to be the key to success for him.

Coolest Cooler Prototypes
The evolution of the Coolest Cooler, from the initial prototype to the final product. Source: Crowdfund Insider

When he was about to launch the next crowdfunding campaign, the new Coolest Coolest was gleaming. It had a very striking design, color and logo. An 18-watt blender with rechargeable battery, a double USB charger, a lid with LED light, a cutting board, small rollers for easy transport, integrated storage for dishes and utensils, a bottle opener, a waterproof speaker via Bluetooth… And the list gets longer.

In summer of 2014, Ryan launched the second crowdfunding campaign. With completely different and unexpected results. It’s not known how much he earned during the first hours, days or weeks, but at the end of the campaign he managed to raise a total of $13,285,226 through 62,642 backers. Beating a historical record in the world of crowdfunding. The success of the campaign became very popular, but problems would begin very soon.

Delayed deliveries and legal issues

When the campaign ended, Ryan and his newly created company estimated that contributors would receive their Coolest Cooler by February 2015. But because the campaign had been so successful, demand for the product increased exorbitantly. What caused a change in the original quantity of products to be manufactured in China and therefore, more delivery work, logistics and certification.

Ryan Grepper announced that the delivery would be delayed until July 2015. In that month the delivery of the product began and by November of that year tens of thousands of people had already received the Coolest Cooler. But even though he announced that everyone would receive the product by April 2016, he later confessed that the production of this product had ceased. And he requested from his clients $15 million to be able to deliver the cooler to the remaining 35,000 sponsors.

coolest cooler success crowdfunding
Despite the problems of delivery and the inconvenience caused to customers, the Coolest Cooler is still considered one of the best coolers in the market. Source: Time

Although the company managed to raise money to continue production, in September 2016 they began receiving hundreds of complaints. Which caused the Oregon Department of Justice to begin investigating the Coolest Cooler for alleged violation of the state’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act. In February 2017, there were still people waiting to receive the product and the company was still looking for funds to ensure delivery.

The Oregon Department of Justice had to reach an agreement with the company in June 2017. In order to specify the plan to deliver the product to the 20,000 customers who hadn’t yet received it. Nowadays, it’s presumed that Coolest Cooler is still being delivered but it’s still uncertain that everyone has received it. Adding it to the 75% of products financed via crowdfunding that always have shipping problems.

Ryan Grepper 2017
Ryan Grepper acknowledged in 2017 that his company had spent a lot of money on legal matters. And that he hopes to be able to generate more income for the remaining deliveries. Source: The Business Journals

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Will everyone get their Coolest Cooler…?