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Skully, the hardware startup behind the augmented reality motorcycle helmet that raised $2.4 million on Indiegogo, has shut down operations, according to TechCrunch. The move follows the ousting of CEO Marcus Weller along with his brother and fellow co-founder Mitch earlier this month.
With its promise of a heads-up display, 180-degree blind-spot camera, GPS, and other audio/visual features, the Skully AR-1 raised more than $14 million from investors and crowdfunding backers. But the shutdown means the 3000+ people who pre-ordered a helmet are now unlikely ever to get one, and sources says the chances of them receiving a refund are slim.
The closure is said to have come about following a botched deal with Chinese firm LeSports, which was apparently looking to acquire Skully as the startup was rapidly running out of cash. A manufacturing issue that slowed down shipment of the AR-1 also contributed to the company's problems.
“I’m shocked and deeply saddened that they would now shut this company down,” Weller told TechCrunch. “We were raising a Series B to continue raising capital but then we had a buyer…I’m almost dubious to this.”
It was only two weeks ago when Skully sent out an email promising that the AR helmets were on their way. “Over 400 AR-1 units will be in customers’ hands by the end of July and all pre-orders will be fulfilled by the end of September. We have 100% confidence in our delivery schedule and will continue to keep you in the loop. Please stay tuned because we have very exciting announcements coming up,” read the message.
While a a total shutdown looks imminent, senior members of staff are still hoping the company’s fortunes will turn around. “The Skully executive team is working diligently on closing a round of funding so that we can continue to fulfill our pre-orders and delight our customers,” said marketing VP Carlos Rodriguez.
Skully’s website is still up, but all the AR-1 helmets are now showing as “Sold Out.”