After raising almost $2.5 million, 10 times their original ask on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, SKULLY and their long anticipated AR-1 heads-up display helmet gave notice that it has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the United States.
Despite their incredible funding success, investors were left hanging for more than two and a half years as they waited for their heads-up display helmet to arrive with only Facebook updates to track news.
Without warning, SKULLY dramatically threw in the towel last Friday:
SKULLY Ceases Operations
It is with great regret we must announce that SKULLY will formally cease operations, effective immediately. Over the past several weeks our management team has worked feverishly to raise additional capital but unforeseen challenges and circumstances, beyond our control, made this effort impossible. What this means now is that SKULLY will no longer be able to ship AR-1 Units or process refunds directly.
Substantially all of the assets of SKULLY are now subject to liens held by a secured creditor. The management team does not know if there will be any value above the amount of the secured debt. In addition, at this time, we are not aware whether there will be any distribution amounts available to unsecured creditors. SKULLY now plans to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case within the next several weeks. You will receive notice from the Bankruptcy Court and instructions on how to file a claim.
Our team is devastated and deeply saddened that our valued partners, vendors, employees and customers have been negatively affected by what has transpired. We realize there are many unanswered questions and that this is a very upsetting situation. We are truly sorry.
There certainly are many unanswered questions from the thousands of Indiegogo investors who have put in £1499 for their own helmet, and recieved nothing. SKULLY have now even deactivated their Facebook page, leaving customers with no route of contact at all.
One of the most obvious questions is 'Where has the money gone?'
The helmets themselves were a mass-produced Chinese lid, and the addition of the rear view camera, Spotify music stream and video display screens were added by SKULLY. A few demonstrator units shown in press released and 'independant' reviews can't have cost that much?
This is where the lawsuits are coming in...
A copy of the lawsuit shows claims of spending money on art, Lamborghini hire and even strip clubs, further fuelling the fire that the company was either more confident about the success of their project than reality suggests, or they know they were going under and lived the life while they can.
This is a failure of monumental proportions, nobody can deny.
The only thing BikeTuna would like to suggest to people reading with interst, joining the witchhunt or considering the future of similar projects is this: The failures we see here are of SKULLY, and not crowdfunding. Indiegogo is a route to a means and not the key to the breakdown of this company. While thousands of customers are out of pocket and not just one large investor is certainly bring this kind of investiment to light, and there is a good change that a single investor with $2.5million may well have been watching the figures closer than the mass investors, the crowd funding route remains a fantastic opportunity for smaller companies to try and make a difference.
It's just a shame that SKULLY we're able to deliver, both to their investors and to what looked like an amazing product had it made it to the shelves.