A Discussion with Marisa Kendall San Jose Mercury News - Skully has Ceased Operations, What happened to this Great Business Idea?
Over 1900 contributors on the Indiegogo platform backed the idea of a Motorcycle Helmet featuring technology for what could prove a safer experience and more enjoyable ride and raised a little over 2.4Million
When I had first heard of the Skully AR-1 Helmet, I was so impressed with the technology which was to be a part of this Motorcyle Helmet. As the people at Skully called it Augmented Reality, riders would be able to visually see features such as GPS and Speed as well as rear motion in a heads up style display in the visor screen. A Camera mounted within the helmet facing to the rear would bring that activity to riders view without having to make that dangerous turn of the head. As a rider myself, whenever I can get on a bike, the moments when changing a lane can happen fast, a quick turn of the head to look behind takes the focus from the forward momentum of the bike which when traveling 15-25 miles an hour can be dangerous let alone 55-75 on the freeway.
Skully's idea was to make this safer and give the rider features that many auto manufacturers were beginning to put in vehicles. Blutooth phone connections,Turn by Turn GPS and even Stereo Sound. Some had said that with a price tag at nearly $1500, the focus could be said to be on the affluent cross country rider and not the everyday ride to work user. The idea of The Skully running in a niche catagory for motorcycle riders was off target. Some years ago I purchased seats from Ultimate Seats from my Valkyrie at a price tag of nearly $1000 so it seems the Skully AR-1 could fit into many riders plans for must have safety gear. At least 1900 Early contributors raised a whole lot of money to help see this happen.
The excitement has turned to frustration for not only those that raised the money but also the companies that had participated in the growth of the dream of the Weller Brothers, Marcus and Mitch. Flextronics is one of those companies that has been forced to file suit on the owners of Skully which ceased operations in August. The experience for Venture Capital investors has many looking closer at the companies they invest in. Even the 1900+ that invested in the campaign on indiegogo which were supposed to get AR-1 helmets have a bitter taste in their mouths against crowdsourcing as Indiegogo has no obligation to return money or produce product with many leaving angry comments on the Indiegogo Donation Page. The Skully website remains active at this time without a shopping cart as well as the Indiegogo page with a statement from the company regarding the plan to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy
We spoke with the author of an article from The San Jose Mercury News Marisa Kendall about the end of operations for Skully and how such a promising company could be forced to close its doors. We find that other situations in the Silicon Valley of the past year have Venture Capitalist excersising more caution when it comes to thier investments. With sometimes outrageous spending and situations within the business enviroment we wondered how closly maybe this compares to the Hit HBO Show "Silicon Valley." The words "Spot On" ring loud.
Tune in for our segment with Silicon Valley Area Columnist Marisa Kendall and be sure to check out the San Jose Mercury News for more coverage of Emerging Markets and Technology.