Kickstarter hires a journo to investigate a failed campaign

This time, Kickstarter's the one funding a project.

When you hear the word "Kickstarter," you probably think of campaigns asking for your money. This time, though, the crowdfunding website is using its own money to fund a project: one that aims to discover why Zano mini-drone, the most-funded campaign in Europe, failed to deliver. The company has hired an investigative journalist named Mark Harris, who has written for various publications such as MIT Technology Review and Scientific American, to look into what went wrong with project. If you recall, Zano's CEO suddenly resigned in November, leaving backers out in the cold. Prior to that, the campaign promised a tiny, cheap drone that can be used for aerial photography, and people liked it so much, it raised over $3 million.

According to Harris, the company asked him to track the project from start to finish and to find out where the $3 million worth of pledges went to. Also:

Kickstarter has asked me to... answer the questions of whether Zano's creators could have done anything differently, or made mistakes that future Kickstarter projects might avoid. I will also be looking into Kickstarter's role in the project, and whether it could have served Zano's creators or backers better throughout.

In an email sent to Motherboard, a Kickstarter spokesperson said the company is okay with creators taking on big ideas and failing, but that it expects "transparency and honesty along the way." The crowdfunding website wants to use whatever Harris unearths as an example for other hardware makers aiming to launch ambitious campaigns. However, the story's primary target audience is still Zano's 12,000 backers, so they can have closure and know what happened to their money.