It surprising to us that there is so little investment in technologies and business in the two-wheeled space by the established players.
Maybe it is the conservative nature of the motorcycle industry, or maybe it is because motorcycle companies are just miserably bad at corporate development. Whatever the reason may be, it makes today’s headline an intriguing one.
This is because Yamaha Motor Corp. in Japan has just set aside $100 million to invest in technologies and business startups, over the next 10 years.
Bad news from San Francisco today, as we learn that Alta Motors has ceased business operations, effective immediately, sending the company’s staff home as the electric motorcycle manufacturer looks for future funding.
Talking to an anonymous source, Asphalt & Rubber has been told that Alta Motors is in the midst of a strategic wind down, as it looks for an outside acquisition or investment.
It is with great regret that we inform you today that Motus Motorcycles is ceasing business operations, as the American motorcycle startup has reached the end of its financial backing from investors.
The news was sent to Motus owners via email on Friday, August 31st, and confirmed to us later that day by Motus co-founder and designer Brian Case via text message. We imagine that a more formal announcement will be coming forth after the Labor Day holiday weekend, so at the moment, details are light.
What we do know is that the news comes as a surprise, as Motus has been busy with dealer events around the country. Also, the startup was getting ready to launch its second model as well, later this year, which was a streetfighter based off the Motus MST sport-touring bike.
Things keep getting worse motorcycle helmet startup Skully, as its production partner Flextronics has filed suit for money and materials allegedly owed it.
According to court documents, Flextronics is demanding payment of roughly $2 million dollars – $505,703 in past-due bills, $514,409 in unpaid bills, and another $1.5 million in what Flextronics calls “materials and inventory related to the Skully project.”
This lawsuit is the second legal action taken against Skully since the company laid off its workforce and shut its doors for lack of funding.
I had to check the A&R archives to see if we have even mentioned Lit Motors before, mostly because the the San Francisco startup has been slow to develop its self-balancing motorcycle, and I’m not terribly bullish on the project.
That doesn’t mean the concept is without merit though, and its apparently caught the interest of Apple. If that sounds strange to you, then you need to understand that Apple, along with a bevy of other tech giants, is working on an autonomous car for the masses.
This “Project Titan” as it’s called, has already seen Apple poach a couple of Lit Motors’ personnel, and now the most valuable company in the world is looking at acquiring Lit Motors, and/or other automotive entities, according to the New York Times.
Skully on Friday finally acknowledged what has already been known in the motorcycling community: the company was going out of business. The news comes after a last-minute effort by the remaining management to secure a new round of funding.
With $15 million down the drain, work still to do before the Skully AR-1 would be ready to ship, and a growing group of disgruntled early adopters, Skully’s resurrection was not to be.
Instead in a letter to backers and customers, Skully announced that it would be filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy procedure for companies that are going out of business. This news, of course, directly impacts the thousands of motorcyclists who were expecting to receive a Skully AR-1 helmet.
It was just two weeks ago that we told you about Skully’s investors ousting brothers Marcus Weller and Mitch Weller from the San Francisco startup, and today TechCrunch reports that the motorcycle helmet company will be rather swiftly closing its doors.
A&R readers may remember that Skully’s latest delay to market stemmed from the Skully AR-1 helmet not being ready for mass production, despite the nearly $15 million raised through seed money and a Series A funding round, which was led by Intel Capital.
As such, the closure surely stems from Skully’s investors choosing to shut down the company’s operations, rather than rebuild Skully’s tarnished reputation and retool its product for mass production.
According to TechCrunch, operations at Skully have already ceased, and the website is expected to go offline later today, though as of this writing Skully’s website remains, and its social marketing team is still on Facebook cooling the heels of angry customers.
Rever, the popular motorcycle route tracking app for smartphones, just got a serious boost today. The news sees BMW’s investing arm, BMW i Ventures, investing in the social media company, while BMW Motorrad will form a strategic partnership with Rever as well.
Details about the deal are a bit vague beyond the aforementioned, though one can logically deduce that BMW will be able to use the Rever platform for its riders, adding a connected social element for BMW Motorrad.
Of course for Rever, this means the startup has the backing of one of the strongest motorcycle brands in the world, along with a strategic investment – a two-fer for the Colorado company.
TechCrunch is reporting, and our sources have confirmed, that the investors behind the Skully AR-1 helmet have ousted one of the company’s founders, Marcus Weller, along with his brother Mitch Weller. For those who don’t know, Marcus Weller was Skully’s CEO, while Mitch Weller served as the company’s Chief of Staff.
The departure of the Weller brothers comes after Skully continually missed its delivery deadlines with its first product, the Skully AR-1, which is a helmet with an integrated rear-facing camera, small computer system, and heads-up-display oculus.
The Skully AR-1 helmet debuted to much fanfare, but it soon became clear that the company’s leadership wasn’t up to the task on delivering the promises they were making to the public. Seemingly on a different page with their investors as well, Marcus and Mitch Weller were fired by the company’s Board of Directors.
It looks like Martin Fitcher, Skully’s current COO, will take over the reigns for the company, or what’s left of it, as its new CEO. Hopefully this means that Skully will finally get on the right path and begin delivery helmets to its plethora of early backers. We are not holding our breath, however.
Motus Motorcycles continues to grow its dealership presence, especially with the announcement that the American motorcycle outfit has added eight new dealerships to its dealer network.
That addition brings Motus’ total to 22 dealers in the United States with more on the way, the company says.
That’s good news for riders interested in a unique American-built motorcycle, especially those that are familiar with tinkering on push-rod muscle cars.
Future Skully AR-1 owners will have to continue waiting for their helmets, as Skully has once again pushed back the delivery date of its heads-up display powered helmet.
The announcement is another blow for the San Francisco based startup, as Skully has gone from the media darling to full-blown vaporware-pusher over the past two years.
We say this because Skully first launched in 2013, with promises of helmets in the hands of consumers by the end of 2014. That date was then pushed back to May 2015, in conjunction with Skully’s Kickstarter campaign launch. That date would be revised again, this time to the end of the year 2015.
Now well into the fourth month of 2016, Skully is pushing back its delivery date again, though it isn’t giving a firm timeline when the production units will finally reach purchasers. It should be noted that as of this date, only a handful of pre-production units have made it the hands of specially chosen