R.I.P Triggertrap: Trigger Pioneer to Close Shop After Kickstarter Fail

Camera trigger pioneering Triggertrap announced today that it’s going out of business. Founded in 2011, Triggertrap was notable for offering a wide range of options using an intervalometer, laser sensor, sound sensor, and Aux input for custom triggers.

Its initial Kickstarter campaign raised over $77,000, blowing past its $25,000 goal. The product was soon joined in the market by competitors such as the Nero camera trigger, which has since rebranded as MIOPS.

The original Triggertrap.

After releasing a series of updates and followups to its original product concept (and the launch of Triggertrap Mobile), Triggertrap made another big announcement in 2013 by announcing the Redsnap, which was later rebranded as the Ada. The new product promised to be a modular and infinitely expandable camera trigger, and photographers brought into idea.

That Kickstarter campaign ended up raising over $500,000, well past its initial goal of about $77,000. Despite the excitement and huge crowdfunding success, that Kickstarter campaign was actually the beginning of the end for the company.

In May 2015, Triggertrap announced that it had failed and wouldn’t be able to deliver any trigger to backers. The reason given was that the company had grossly underestimated the costs of developing and manufacturing the new trigger.

After the failure, Triggertrap switched from being mainly a hardware product to mainly a mobile software one.

In a blog post on Medium published today, Triggertrap founder and CEO Haje Jan Kamps says that his company had been treading water ever since that failed Kickstarter.

“Ever since our failed Kickstarter campaign, Triggertrap has been struggling,” Kamps writes. “We’ve gone through several rounds of lay-offs to keep the company afloat, but ultimately, ended up being unable to save Triggertrap.”

Kamps reveals that his company had grown to having 15 employees before entering a downward spiral.

“For the past 18 months, we’ve been operating with just a few team members, who have been working their asses off to keep the lights on,” Kamps says. “But ultimately, we weren’t able to claw our way out of the hole, and the company now owes the company’s founders around $60k.”

“With no realistic hope of ever paying that money back, and after ten months in a row of struggling to make payroll for our remaining staff members, we decided it was time to give up.”

The Triggertrap Flickr Group contains examples of how photographers around the world have been using Triggertrap.

Kamps says technical support for Triggertrap products ends immediately, and the company itself should be completely wound down within a month. If you’re interested in owning one of the last Triggertrap products remaining in the warehouse (with zero support moving forward), they’re currently being sold at less than half price.

While the iOS and Android apps will continue to be available in the store for now, there’s no guarantee that they’ll continue functioning into the future. Kamps says Triggertrap is looking into open sourcing the apps.

“You’ve created so many beautiful photos using Triggertrap products,” writes Kamps to his customers. “Please keep doing that, even as the company itself fades into the night. Thank you for all your support.”

Update: Here’s what Kamps tells PetaPixel about what transpired in recent months:

As you know, our Kickstarter project failed, and we had to refund all the money we didn’t spend on trying to make the product a reality. During the same time, we had grown our organization and were selling a lot of mobile kits. In retrospect, I think we may have been able to save the company if we had cut our workforce more aggressively, earlier. It’s an incredibly hard thing to do, however (who wants to sit their friends down to tell them they’re losing their jobs?), and we held out hope for (too) long that we would buck our downwards trend.

Christmas just gone, we did fewer sales than we would have hoped, and when we started this year, we took a hard, cold look at the finances. Basically; the company is making money, but the loans the company took to stay afloat were too heavy a burden to carry; I think it would have taken many years to pay off those loans. On top of that, we had to stop R&D on our products (It’s hard to develop when you’ve had to let your developers go). We’ve done maintenance for as long as we can using favors and freelancers, but ultimately that’s no way to stay ahead of the curve.

So; With our income declining, no way of launching new products and no way of effectively maintaining our current products, we decided that perhaps this would need to be the end of the road for the company.

It’s a really sad day for everyone here at Triggertrap — and I’ve been so moved by the outpouring of positive comments by e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s made our lives a tiny bit brighter through all of this.