Another Crowdfunding Failure: Skully Declares Bankruptcy

Another Crowdfunding Failure: Skully Declares Bankruptcy

I'm always being asked to review (or really "preview") some crowdfunding project with lofty goals but little evidence that those goals will be met. Today's lesson comes from Skully, a promising Augmented Reality motorcycle helmet that would give riders a view similar to that of fighter pilots. Imagine seeing details about your speed and surroundings, even behind you, without having to look down or around. As a motorcyclist, I was really looking forward to this finished product.

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Alas, it is not meant to be. The company spent too much and ran out of money. The owners tried to sell their business, but finally declared Chapter 7, which means even the backers probably won't get their $499 deposit back. It's the end of the road, so to speak. The company wrote "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."

It's odd that at the exact time that Pokémon Go turned augmented reality into a venture capital sensation, an AR-based vendor would go out of business. But the difference is that an app doesn't require any specialized hardware, aside from the smartphone most of us carry around. The Skully helmet, much like a virtual-reality headset, is not free or convenient to carry around, while the free and always-there nature of AR is compelling. 

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.