Kurt Swanson – Kickstarter Scam with Kapsul Air

Kurt Swanson had launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2016 which turned out to be a scam. 

His campaign was for the Noria air conditioner which he now calls the Kapsul air conditioner. 

At the time, Kurt Swanson claimed that Noria will revolutionize the air conditioner industry. 

The Kickstarter pitch of Noria said window ACs have been around for over 6 decades, providing much needed relief during the summer. 

However, the pitch highlighted that air conditioners failed to offer a good user experience. 

Kurt Swanson’s pitch claimed that window ACs have always been big, ugly and loud. Also, he pointed out that they were difficult to install until Noria entered the market. 

In 2016, the Noria used to have a slim, sleek and a relatively light weight. Kurt Swanson had promised that it would be a quiet AC you can install easily. Also, he claimed that users will be able to control their Noria AC through their smartphone. 

Certainly, the pitch was attractive. 

The New York Magazine praised the project saying it can improve a technology that stayed the same since 1947.

kurt swanson

An Attractive Pitch and Unfulfilled Promises

Kurt’s pitch was attractive and effective. Within 45 days, he crowdfunded over $1.5 million from over 3000 backers. 

It has been one of the biggest Kickstarter campaigns in Philadelphia. 

Furthermore, Kurt Swanson raised over $800,000 on Indiegogo. 

The earliest backers of this project had paid as little as $249 per unit. 

In 2016, Kurt had told the backers that they can expect their units in March 2017.

However, the date came and went but nobody received an air conditioner. In 2018, Kurt Swanson had to change the name of Norio to Kapsul as he faced a lawsuit over it.

Kurt had told the media that he understood people’s disappointment in 2017 when he didn’t deliver any air conditioners before the deadline. 

He blamed some manufacturing problems in China for the delay. 

Since then, Kurt has given many excuses to the backers. At times, Kapsul doesn’t communicate with the backers. 

Later, Kurt and his team restricted the Kickstarter page of their page. Now, only the backers can post any comments there. 

Furthermore, he has banned the usage of words like “fraud” and “scam”. 

Several of the backers have even filed formal complaints against him. The attorney general of Pennsylvania has confirmed that people have filed complaints. 

Certainly, people feel victimized as they are at risk of losing all of their investment. There have been several scams which use this tactic. For example, Bryan Legend has raised funding for several projects which end up shutting down. 

The Various Excuses of Kurt Swanson:

Kurt has stopped talking about Kapsul now. Instead, his Chief Operating Office does all the talking. 

Chris Myers, the Kapsul COO says things have begun changing for the better. 

He says the company has shipped over 200 Kapsul ACs to its original backers. 

However, that’s not 200 backers but 200 units. Some backers have received multiple ACs.

Myers claimed that Kapsul will ship at least 500 more air conditioners. He blamed the pandemic and the increased tariffs on goods imported from China for the delay. 

Some media outlets questioned if original backers are incapable of receiving their products, why does Kapsul’s website allow consumers to buy new units from their website? 

kurt swanson

In response, Myers claimed that every unit they send to their original backers costs them $110 over the average per-unit pledged amount of $300.

Hence, Kapsul Air relies on selling the $800 units to manage those orders. 

Myers also added that the company can’t refund the $2 million crowdfunding it had received. They have already spent that money. 

Kapsul Air Conditioner Review: How Kurt Swanson’s Product? 

It has been 6 years since Kurt Swanson launched his kickstarter. 

Moreover, his company claims it has shipped several hundred units to its original backers. 

Surely, some Kapsul Air Conditioner reviews should be present on the internet, right? 

Well, there aren’t many. 

I only found one customer review on Kapsul Air Conditioner. 

kapsul air conditioner reviews reddit

According to the reviewer, he had bought a KapsulAir in July and received it in September. 

He had installed the air conditioner a few weeks before his post. The reviewer noticed that its compressor doesn’t work, it only blows warm air. 

So, he contacted the company because Kurt Swanson’s firm offers a 3-year warranty. 

They didn’t respond. 

He called them a few days later, Again, no response. 

The reviewer wanted to know if the company is still operating or has it shut down. Also, he wanted to know if the company operates, how can he get help from them? 

In response, people told him he should be grateful that he at least received a Kapsul Air. No matter what promises Kurt Swanson made, many people are yet to receive an air conditioner from his firm. 

kapsul air conditioner review

One user highlighted that he had bought one Kapsul Air too. However, the AC died within 6 months. 

Although it took the company a very long time, they finally responded to the user and sent him a replacement. He points out that in the FAQ section of Kapsul’s website, they claim their AC lasts for 10 years or 8000 hours. 

Note that 8000 hours is only 333 days. This is not much for warm places at all. 

Kapsul Air Reviews: Is Kurt Swanson Posting Fake Reviews On His Website?

The reviews I found on reddit don’t paint a good picture. However, when I visited the website of Kapsul Air, I noticed a “Reviews” section. 

kurt swanson

It has over 100 reviews. However, all of them are unverifiable. 

All of these reviews present on Kurt Swanson’s website are only available there. They are not present anywhere else on the internet. 

This raises suspicion on their legitimacy. That’s because many shady businesses rely on posting fake reviews to boost their credibility. 

For example, HULT Private Capital is an investment firm which has received a lot of criticism for posting fake reviews on its profiles. Another example is Dr Dean Toriumi, a doctor who allegedly uses fake reviews to bury the complaints of his patients.

Hence, there’s a good chance that Kurt Swanson added fake reviews on Kapsul’s website to entice buyers. 

Conclusion

From being one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns to turning into a scam, Kapsul Air has come a long way. 

Maybe Kurt Swanson’s initial intention was good but it’s clear that he doesn’t care about his backers anymore. 

It has been 6 years since the campaign and many backers are still waiting to get their air conditioner. 

Many of them have moved on and have given up. 

Moreover, the current reviews indicate that Kurt Swanson’s product isn’t what he claims to be. It has an extremely short life and the company offers poor customer service.

Beware.

2.6Expert Score
Lacks Ethics

Kurt Swanson had launched the Kickstarter campaign for Kapsul Air in 2016 and crowdfunded over $2 million from it. Almost all of his original backers haven’t received the product since then. Moreover, it seems like he is using unethical marketing tactics to promote his company.

Trust
2.6
Experience
3
Professionalism
2.7
Ethics
2.2
Pros
  • None
Cons
  • Hasn't delivered products to most of the original backers
  • Makes excuses for a 5-year delay
  • Using unethical marketing tactics
  • Questionable product quality
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