Audio start-up Ossic is shutting down, leaving tens of thousands of pre-order customers without their virtual reality headphones and without recourse for a refund.
The company has blown through a grand total of $5.9 million in crowdfunding from Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, and about the same in seed funding from investors, for its Ossic X headphones.
The high-end headphones were designed for use in virtual reality environments and featured head-tracking tech to assist with 3D audio reproduction.
22,000 people made pre-orders for the headphones from January 2017, with the company promising Spring 2018 shipping. A TechCrunch reports points out the firm ended up making only around 250 units.
The firm is blaming slow adoption of VR as part of the reason for the failure, while claiming the stretch goals also swallowed a lot of its cash haul.
“This was obviously not our desired outcome,” the company wrote in an open letter to backers on its website.
“The team worked exceptionally hard and created a production-ready product that is a technological and performance breakthrough. To fail at the 5 yard-line is a tragedy. We are extremely sorry that we cannot deliver your product and want you to know that the team has done everything possible including investing our own savings and working without salary to exhaust all possibilities.”
The firm says it would take another $2 million in investment to deliver the headphones to all backers. That’s not happening and out-of-pocket backers are understandably furious.
Ossic joins a long list of tech start-ups who’ve exhausted faith and funding from backers on crowdfunding sites. It’s unlikely to be the last.
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