Start. Grow. Exit

What every startup can learn from Pebble

PebblePebble first showed up in the wearables market in 2012 after running a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign for its original Pebble watch. In early 2015, Pebble said it had sold 1 million smartwatches.

Citizen reportedly offered to buy Pebble for $740 million in 2015, but the company refused. After Pebble Time Round’s poor performance on the market, Intel offered to acquire the company for $70 million. Unfortunately, the company refused that offer as well. The company laid off 25 percent of its workforce in March 2016 because it said money was “pretty tight.” Now it has to sell for only $30 to $40 million, which is barely enough to cover its debts to suppliers.

What can every startup learn from that?

  • Being the first player in the market does not necessarily mean you will succeed
  • Building some unique products and a loyal community does not save you from money problems
  • Think twice before you refuse substantial acquisition offers

Update Dez 7 – MacRumors reports:

….To improve its standing in the market, Fitbit reportedly wants to hire Pebble’s software engineers and testers, and get hold of intellectual property including the Pebble OS, watch apps, and cloud services. The $40 million buyout sum does not include Pebble’s debt and other obligations, product inventory or server equipment, all of which will be sold off separately, said the people, who asked to remain anonymous.

Following the buyout, Pebble’s offices will be closed and former engineers will relocate to Fitbit offices in San Francisco. There’s no word yet as to whether Fitbit will decide to use the Pebble brand in future.

The deal will make Pebble stock held by employees “worthless”, said sources, with the money earned on the acquisition going to debt holders, vendors, some equity investors, and Kickstarter refunds for the Time 2 and Pebble Core orders.


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