Henry Grabar is a staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
This world-changing invention is more expensive than we remembered.
But a cardboard bicycle?
Israeli inventor Izhar Gafni is trying to raise $2 million on Indiegogo to mass-produce his cardboard bicycle, a product of recycled materials that, Fast Company wrote, "could be an absolutely paradigm-shifting idea in the transportation industry."
Well, apparently investors weren't so sure, so Gafni is looking to the Internet instead.
We wrote about the cardboard bike back in September, when Gafni was working to raise funds to manufacture the Alfa, which was supposed to sell for $9-12. That, in addition to its sustainable construction, was billed as one of its world-changing aspects. Anyone could afford it!
But as a crowd-funded enterprise, the prices have gone up a little bit. As an Indiegogo contributor, you'll have to commit $290 to obtain a $10 cardboard bike. For $35, you can get a signed posted of Gafni, who is "something of a cult figure around the world."
And for $10, the initial price of the cardboard bike? "We've received thousands of ideas related to our products! Would you like to influence future product development? Join an exclusive group of people who will be consulted regularly in a Focus Group Forum." No need to rush on that last one, though: this "exclusive" focus group has 30,000 spots available.
In fairness, funding projects for the poor is hard... but a 29x mark-up is awfully steep for a cardboard bicycle.