01 February 2017

Triggertrap Playbook: “Triggertrap Going out of Business FAQ”

Triggertrap, like any startup, had some big highs and lows. At one point, we employed 15 staff; a team of photographers, coders, support, marketing, logistics, and operations. Ever since we announced that our Triggertrap Ada Kickstarter project failed, we’ve been in 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. 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.

Haje Jan Kamps

I was close to buying one of their products a couple of years ago, but in the end I decided to go with a more traditional trigger. For people not familiar with DSLR accessories, Triggertrap offered mobile apps and physical cables to connect smartphones with cameras so that people could use the smartphone app to trigger the camera in a variety of ways (timelapse, facial recognition, vibration and sound triggers to name a few). Despite innovative ideas, their failure looks like an example of how difficult it is to build a successful hardware startup these days.

Triggertrap MD3-E3 kit
The Triggertrap MD3-E3 kit works with 44 Canon cameras, five Contax cameras, seven FujiFilm cameras, eight Hasselblad cameras, one Lytro camera, 26 Pentax cameras, seven Samsung cameras, and three Sigma cameras.

In retrospect, the problem with their business is that the products are not a future-oriented solution, but merely a stop-gap measure: relying on cables in an increasingly wireless world is a loosing proposition. Camera manufacturers have started incorporating wireless technology into their DSLR cameras, offering smartphone apps alongside for free, reducing the need for dedicated controllers. The Canon EOS 760D I own is by no means a pro-level camera, but comes with this included. And Apple removing the headphone jack from their latest iPhones instantly removed half of Triggertrap’s potential market. Squeezed from two sides, the company had little room left for maneuver and probably too few cash to realistically change their business model.

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