13 Jun 2017

Everykey -- the $1 million startup failure

Back in 2014, I pledged $50 to Everykey's Kickstarter, believing in their promise to deliver a wristband (or key dongle) that would automatically unlock my computer, phone, house, or whatever I wanted using bluetooth.

The product, in other words, would "let me be me" instead of forcing me to remember pesky passwords, keys, fingerprints, etc.

Just look at their video (try to avoid the CEO's demon eyes)

Even better, they got John McAfee (this guy) to come aboard as their spokesperson:

I ordered a single dongle/wristband for Windows and waited... and waited... and waited.

Then I bought a Mac, so I asked to get an OSX version instead.

Then I waited... and waited... and WAIT! A package!

Whoops, bad news. They labeled the package as "merchandise" so I had to pay €25 to pick up the reward I got for backing their project, which really pissed me off. (Kickstarter backers are NOT buying merchandise, but giving financial support to a project that may succeed or fail.)

I asked the folks at Everykey to refund the customs charges and change their shipping labels, but no such luck. So their EU backers are going to be paying €extra to pick up packages* that don't even work.

Wait. What?

Yes, the version of Everykey I received does not work. I know this for two reasons. The first is that  they shipped me a Windows version (they are still not shipping OSX), and many people are already complaining about the product/app/software not working. (There are over 1,550 comments -- mostly complaining about delays and failures -- on their Kickstarter.)

The second is that I sold my Everykey to a security developer who wanted to check it out.

Here's what he told me after he had time to test the unit:
As expected, it doesn't work, neither on Windows 10 nor on Android.
On Android, it pairs successfully but the app can't unlock the phone (it says it's still not compatible with Android 7).
On Windows, the App SEEMS fake, it systematically crashes !
I dismounted the Everykey device and discovered that inside there is a standard Bluetooth low energy chip without a co-processor for security.
So, actually, it is nothing more than an iBeacon and it can never guarantee real security .. :)
If you google "Everykey reviews" you get the naive, the bot, the actual security expert, and those worried about McAfee.

Bottom Line: Everykey has shitty customer service (broken delivery promises, waste your money for no reason), a non-functioning and/or insecure product, and no future. Avoid them** at all costs.

* Shipping policy: "In addition, it is the sole responsibility of the receiving customer to pay any import duties, taxes, or brokerage fees due at the time of delivery. Packing slips for international shipments cannot be labeled as a gift."

** Founders Christopher Wentz and CiCi Qian are not listed on their website, but they are mentioned in articles. Be careful about supporting ANYTHING they ever do.


Anonymous said...

Not unusual to have to pay import/and or tax fees on delivery. Annoying but that's what you deal with when you have anything shipped into the area in which you live if not part of the region you are based.

As for the product I can't comment as I do not own one but your barbs regarding the CEO's "Demon Eyes" shows a lack of maturity.

David Zetland said...

Immature... since 1969 ;)

McKowan said...

Just got mine. Definitely NOT ready for prime time. Installs on one W10 (but FAR from seamless) and won't launch on the other. Where is the "proximity feature? Can't see the value add on an iPhone X.

nicholas w said...

i think that the demon eyes call was about the least contestable part of this article

jokap said...

just got mine today after waiting 19 months since ordering. afraid to try installing. not a techie geek.

Larry said...

I fell victim also. I paid well over $125 for my EK plus a key ring and fob. A year and a half later I still did not receive my EK. I demanded a refund and threatened the Attorney General if I did not receive it. Surprisingly I got my refund but no interest on my money. I was just happy I got that.

I had emailed them many MANY times over the year and a half and the answer was always the same. That they are a start-up company and we’re having difficulties in production but they kept saying my order would be shipped the next month. This never happened.

I warn everyone I talk to that is interested in this device. I posted a comment on an ad they were running in Facebook only to be blocked from posting again and it appears my post was removed.

Everyone needs to know NOT to get involved with this company and DO NOT give them any money.

Mark Friess said...

Thought this was going to be a great device but found after receiving it that it is not live up to expectations in any respect. Does not work with Android phone, iPad or Macbook Pro. Contacted customer support and they offered reasons why Everykey does not work with most operating systems and especially with OS. I sent back the devices per company instructions, customer support acknowledged receipt of the return and after almost 3 weeks, no refund or any response to my
e-mails. When calling company, customer service does not pick up and message says to leave message for call return which never materializes. Company will take your money for a product which is not functional. Don’t waste your money. You have been warned!

Anonymous said...

I received EK today after one and half year, its really suxx, doesn works right, really bad...

pat harvey said...

Great reviews guys, I wasn’t going to buy one until I could see a few reviews. Saw this on Facebook. If it’s to good to be true then it may not be as good as they promised. There down to 59.00dollars for one with free shipping. No mention if it is IOS ready or not which I would want a dual system device. Now still looking for a better PassWrod mouse trap.

Unknown said...

I received mine today, a year late! On setting it up the first thing that happened is that it threw a virus warning! (I found that mildly amusing given that John McAfee has been promoting it) Then it just wouldn't pair. Appears to be a piece of junk!

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