Pebble struggling to secure new funding in wake of Apple Watch, rumor claims

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  • Reply 61 of 78
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Right_said_fred View Post

     



    when you find those alerts and notifications stop working occasionally, and the need 'occasionally' to re-pair the watch - you'll end up putting it in a drawer. That dual bluetooth connection ( two types of bluetooth required for pebble) is a problem. It worked great for me, 98% up time. Its the 2% when I ended up missing calls, and could no longer rely on leaving my phone on the desk is when my pebble hit the drawer. There was much to like about the pebble - but connectivity must be 100% or its useless.




    I had that happen a few times for sure, but it didn't annoy me enough to throw it in a lake or to put it in a drawer.

     

    To be fair, I'm also having some connectivity issues with my Apple Watch today including 1 missed phone call and missing notifications too. But I'm going to focus on the fact things will get better from here. So the connectivity thing, while it has gotten better, and should continue to with Apple, is not mutually exclusive to the Pebble watch apparently, though I think the Watch is using Bluetooth and WiFi. Interesting for sure.

  • Reply 62 of 78
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    jsmythe00 wrote: »
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    It'll be shutter doors either way.

    Ehh I'm not too sure. Amazon for example runs on thin margins. I think they can carve a niche. It's just not going to be at the 200+ price point.

    I could be wrong but that's my position

    Yes they run on thin margins but they have multitudes of revenue streams.
  • Reply 63 of 78
    I love my Apple watch.
    Yet there are features of my original Pebble that I prefer. Physical media control buttons for one.

    I wish Pebble the best, hopefully they can find their niche profitable long term.
  • Reply 64 of 78
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,560member
    jsmythe00 wrote: »
    200 for core features OR 350 for core features plus. 150 is too close for someone considering dropping 350. Now if Awatch started at 500 then the price gap is wide enough to be in different markets.

    $150 to $200 is a very big difference. A VERY big difference. We're not talking of a difference between $1,200 and $1,350. That's not a big difference, even though many people would still think about it before buying.

    But we're talking of almost twice the price for the small Apple Watch and the new Pebble, and exactly twice the price for the big Apple Watch. That's a very big difference.
  • Reply 65 of 78



    Pebble's biggest obstacle has always been not being able to send back to the iPhone after receiving an alert.  They can do that on Android now, which is where their best chances for keeping a market are.  That they snubbed Microsoft's work on bringing Pebble to their platform certainly hasn't helped them any though I understand when you have limited resources you focus on the best market opportunities.  

     

    I had a Pebble for 6-9months, it was better than nothing, but I'm happy with my aWatch.

  • Reply 66 of 78
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by darwiniandude View Post



    I love my Apple watch.

    Yet there are features of my original Pebble that I prefer. Physical media control buttons for one.



    I wish Pebble the best, hopefully they can find their niche profitable long term.



    I miss that too, I had the top button assigned for media control and the bottom one to my Starbucks card. Made life a little easier.

     

    I also hope they will find their spot. After watching their video launch to the Pebble Time Kickstarter campaign, I gained more admiration for them as a company.

  • Reply 67 of 78
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,384member

    I don't get it. Pebble is supposed to be a successful, established company. Why the **** do they need to secure "new funding" for their product, especially since they have already done so with their 2nd kickstarter campaign? Can't stand these companies that act as if they're still scrappy startups. If they can't fund the development of their new product with their OWN existing capital, then something is wrong, and they don't deserve to be in business anyway.  

  • Reply 68 of 78
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,002member
    slurpy wrote: »
    I don't get it. Pebble is supposed to be a successful, established company. Why the **** do they need to secure "new funding" for their product, especially since they have already done so with their 2nd kickstarter campaign? Can't stand these companies that act as if they're still scrappy startups. If they can't fund the development of their new product with their OWN existing capital, then something is wrong, and they don't deserve to be in business anyway.  

    Why risk your money when you can risk someone else's? :lol:
  • Reply 69 of 78
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post

    They're new watch is and color screen are incompatible with the original b/w screen model. That won't help. The new models will be more expensive as well, in order to accommodate the new functionality.



    But no matter what, it's still a cheap design, without a touch screen. The colors of the ink screens are terrible, as well, making anything other than mild graphic visuals unpleasant. The screen is pretty small too, as can be seen by the pics.



    The original model has a lot of apps, but they really don't so all that much. There are problems with alerts, like Android Wear, you can turn alerts off or on, that's it. But at least Android Wear is moving in that area to come somewhat closer to how Apple does it.



    I don't know how much trouble they're in yet, as the $20 million they raised will carry them through the launch of the new product lines. They may be looking for capital longer term.

     

    New watch runs all the existing software. Much of it has already been updated to support the colour screen.

    Colours on the e-ink display are actually pretty nice and the display is on all the time.

    As for small - gosh! - first smartwatch to fit wrists!
  • Reply 70 of 78
    Pebble Time is colour. The display is permanently on. It is waterproof, not splashproof. The battery life is 5-7 days. It is small and sits comfortably on the wrist. It is compatible with Android and iOS.

    This is a pretty high bar. The Apple and Android watches are pretty poor in comparison.

    I suspect, since Pebble are still recruiting, this report is complete rubbish.
  • Reply 71 of 78
    xixoxixo Posts: 449member
    They'll be better carving out a niche. Trying to go toe to toe with Apple is a recipe for disaster when you don't have the cash.

    When Apple releases the equivalent of an "apple watch 5c" (after they refine the engineering at the high end) their competitors can kiss the entire market goodbye.

    Flouroelastomer case and band would be quite popular at the low end of the market.
  • Reply 72 of 78



    "Horsehocky!" 

     

    Why - Lots of facts wrong - 700,000 watches sold - reality 1,000,000

    EVEN IF THEY ONLY SOLD 700,000 - multiply that by $99 (their BASE model) and you'll see a sizable chunk-a-dough.

     

    Some are speculating that their demand has shrunk - thats totally unverifiable - if ANYTHING the arrival of the Apple Watch only increases their sales by giving contrast to their model.  People on the hump of buying one, will gladly dip their toe in, rather than writing a bigger check.

     

    Olio watch and Apple watch are at a price point that consumers are comfortable paying for a time-piece with a limited life-span.  Version TWO of both are being worked on now.  ALSO - Olio & Apple & Android watches have FIXED their sights selfishly on their native platforms, Pebble crosses the "Aisles" to work seamlessly with both platforms.

     

    This was a leaked report to pump up or pump down a company, and people are falling for it.

  • Reply 73 of 78
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,560member
    jsmythe00 wrote: »
    Maybe. But...if I'm buying something with intent to keep for 2-4 years 150 isn't much of a difference. Once pebble's sales figures start reporting in post apple watch release we'll know

    You might not, and I wouldn't, but many people do. Otherwise, everyone would be buying only the most expensive smartphones when their contract comes up, and they don't. It's also why moving the Macbook Air fron $999 to $899 was considered to be such a big deal. And also why their move now to drop the high end 5k iMac by $200 from $2,499 to $2,299 is also being said to be a big deal.

    People usually look at price first. Only then do they consider everything else. Sometimes, they just want the product, no matter what, and then price isn't as important.

    We now have another Apple Watch sales estimate other than the low 15 million from Kuo. Huberty, who is known for her conservative numbers has just raised estimates for this year from 30 million to 36 million, saying that they think that Apple could have sold as many as 50 million this year (meaning the 12 month period of sales) if Apple hadn't had difficulties with the manufacturer from China flubbing the Taptic engine.

    Considering that the entire "Swiss" watch industry (which actually includes high end watches made elsewhere, such as Germany, the UK, France, the USA, etc.) sold just under 30 million watches last year, at an average price of $732, that's pretty amazing, if the numbers do hold up.
  • Reply 74 of 78
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,374moderator
    The problem with Pebble is finding a compelling message that investors (those that invest in the company) can gut feel as being complimentary to the iDevice ecosystem, and then find the compelling niche to fill on some 10 million odd wrists at a price point where there is ROI.

    The following article says that the Pebble has 52% gross margin and they've sold over 1 million units since July 2013:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/101751543

    The following investor said they'd sold 300k in the first year so 700k in the 2nd year:

    http://startupgrind.com/2014/02/george-zachary-calls-pebble-his-best-investment-to-date/

    Their ASP is about $150 so roughly $150m revenue over 2 years with gross profit of $78m. Plus $30m in Kickstarter funding (Kickstarter backers get a watch though = $27m after fees with around 40% going to fund a smartwatch each = $16m) plus at least $15m in investment funding. Most recent articles say they have about 150 employees. If those employees are paid $30k, that's $4.5m in salaries per year.


    [VIDEO]


    [VIDEO]


    The CEO said when they launched their Kickstarter they had 5 employees. Say total capital was $78m + $16m + $15m, salaries were $9m, that would give them $100m. Salaries can vary from $30k, they'll have to pay for offices but they'd have to be doing something pretty bad to burn through $100m in cash.

    I couldn't help but notice the mention of the Olio watch in the TechCrunch article. As usual when competing products are mentioned, it's good to see if there's any motive for the mention. Let's have a look at the investors in Olio:

    https://angel.co/olio-devices
    https://angel.co/crunchfund

    Olio is run by Steve Jacobs who had interned at Apple and Ammunition (Beats designer):

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/aarontilley/2015/03/26/olio-is-the-next-high-end-smartwatch-trying-to-take-on-the-apple-watch/

    "Jacobs thinks Apple made one big mistake with its watch: It’s trying to recreate the success that it had with the iPhone app ecosystem for the Apple Watch. “Apple said this was successful on the iPhone, so they’re porting it over,” said Jacobs. “One could say they’re doing that because they’re still trying to find that killer functionality. But the last thing we need is another group of apps on smaller screens.”

    While it’s way too early to tell if Jacobs is right about that, I could imagine having difficult finding apps on the tiny Apple Watch screen after having tried it out at a recent media event. If Olio works as well as Jacobs says it will work, it’ll be nice not having too sort through dozens or even hundreds of apps on a tiny watch screen. ”You shouldn’t have to search through 300 different apps to find something that’s relevant,” said Jacobs.

    Coming out of the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in engineering, Jacobs’ got an internship was at Apple, working on the iPod team as well as the first iPhone team under Steve Zadesky–the former Ford engineer now rumored to be leading Apple’s car efforts. Jacobs then got his Master’s in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. He interned at industrial design firm Ammunition Partners, where he says he helped out on Beat headphones, Amazon Fire tablets, Google Chromebook Pixel and a number of other projects for major tech companies. Eventually he went to HP, where he helped lead its high-end laptop division. When a bunch of the HP executive team in that division were recruited by Apple, it was time for Jacobs to depart too."

    Their plan is for 500 units of each model to start out. If the watch market is over 1 billion units per year then it has enough room for a lot of players. 0.5m units per year can keep a small company very comfortable. The article from TechCrunch seems like it's designed to get the Olio noticed by Pebble supporters and critics who might otherwise not pay much attention to it.
  • Reply 75 of 78
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 33,560member
    Marvin wrote: »
    The following article says that the Pebble has 52% gross margin and they've sold over 1 million units since July 2013:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/101751543

    The following investor said they'd sold 300k in the first year so 700k in the 2nd year:

    http://startupgrind.com/2014/02/george-zachary-calls-pebble-his-best-investment-to-date/

    Their ASP is about $150 so roughly $150m revenue over 2 years with gross profit of $78m. Plus $30m in Kickstarter funding (Kickstarter backers get a watch though = $27m after fees with around 40% going to fund a smartwatch each = $16m) plus at least $15m in investment funding. Most recent articles say they have about 150 employees. If those employees are paid $30k, that's $4.5m in salaries per year.


    [VIDEO]


    [VIDEO]


    The CEO said when they launched their Kickstarter they had 5 employees. Say total capital was $78m + $16m + $15m, salaries were $9m, that would give them $100m. Salaries can vary from $30k, they'll have to pay for offices but they'd have to be doing something pretty bad to burn through $100m in cash.

    I couldn't help but notice the mention of the Olio watch in the TechCrunch article. As usual when competing products are mentioned, it's good to see if there's any motive for the mention. Let's have a look at the investors in Olio:

    https://angel.co/olio-devices
    https://angel.co/crunchfund

    Olio is run by Steve Jacobs who had interned at Apple and Ammunition (Beats designer):

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/aarontilley/2015/03/26/olio-is-the-next-high-end-smartwatch-trying-to-take-on-the-apple-watch/

    "Jacobs thinks Apple made one big mistake with its watch: It’s trying to recreate the success that it had with the iPhone app ecosystem for the Apple Watch. “Apple said this was successful on the iPhone, so they’re porting it over,” said Jacobs. “One could say they’re doing that because they’re still trying to find that killer functionality. But the last thing we need is another group of apps on smaller screens.”

    While it’s way too early to tell if Jacobs is right about that, I could imagine having difficult finding apps on the tiny Apple Watch screen after having tried it out at a recent media event. If Olio works as well as Jacobs says it will work, it’ll be nice not having too sort through dozens or even hundreds of apps on a tiny watch screen. ”You shouldn’t have to search through 300 different apps to find something that’s relevant,” said Jacobs.

    Coming out of the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor’s degree in engineering, Jacobs’ got an internship was at Apple, working on the iPod team as well as the first iPhone team under Steve Zadesky–the former Ford engineer now rumored to be leading Apple’s car efforts. Jacobs then got his Master’s in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. He interned at industrial design firm Ammunition Partners, where he says he helped out on Beat headphones, Amazon Fire tablets, Google Chromebook Pixel and a number of other projects for major tech companies. Eventually he went to HP, where he helped lead its high-end laptop division. When a bunch of the HP executive team in that division were recruited by Apple, it was time for Jacobs to depart too."

    Their plan is for 500 units of each model to start out. If the watch market is over 1 billion units per year then it has enough room for a lot of players. 0.5m units per year can keep a small company very comfortable. The article from TechCrunch seems like it's designed to get the Olio noticed by Pebble supporters and critics who might otherwise not pay much attention to it.

    While gross margins are important, and do tell us about manufacturing costs, plus some low level costs, without operating margins, and, of course, net margins (profit), we don't know all that much. So we look at Apple's gross margins of around 40%, as compared to Pebble's supposed 52%, and we might be led to think Pebble is doing better than Apple, financially, which of course, it's not.

    Im skeptical, because I've seen this before, many times. Remembering that Pebble wasn't successful in the beginning in securing venture capital, and appears to be looking for it again, unsuccessfully, though I know that this isn't confirmed, I speculate that Pebble isn't financially secure enough to have another product without outside financing, which is why another Kickstarter campaign. Quite frankly, a company that's been operating since late 2012, and supposedly doing well, that needs to go back to Kickstarter for a new product line, seems to be shaky.

    In addition, they had no real competition until mid 2014. I estimate that Android Wear, which has already gotten its first catch up to Apple Watch update, will get more. With those watches selling for prices that rival the Pebble, but more sophisticated in function, I,e., with real color screens, not that terrible color ink screen, and touchscreen, that Pebble will be in some trouble.
  • Reply 76 of 78
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 15,374moderator
    melgross wrote: »
    While gross margins are important, and do tell us about manufacturing costs, plus some low level costs, without operating margins, and, of course, net margins (profit), we don't know all that much. So we look at Apple's gross margins of around 40%, as compared to Pebble's supposed 52%, and we might be led to think Pebble is doing better than Apple, financially, which of course, it's not.

    Im skeptical, because I've seen this before, many times. Remembering that Pebble wasn't successful in the beginning in securing venture capital, and appears to be looking for it again, unsuccessfully, though I know that this isn't confirmed, I speculate that Pebble isn't financially secure enough to have another product without outside financing, which is why another Kickstarter campaign. Quite frankly, a company that's been operating since late 2012, and supposedly doing well, that needs to go back to Kickstarter for a new product line, seems to be shaky.

    In addition, they had no real competition until mid 2014. I estimate that Android Wear, which has already gotten its first catch up to Apple Watch update, will get more. With those watches selling for prices that rival the Pebble, but more sophisticated in function, I,e., with real color screens, not that terrible color ink screen, and touchscreen, that Pebble will be in some trouble.

    At 22:40 in the following video, the Pebble CEO says he doesn't know where the TechCrunch article is coming from, they're making more money than they spend and not looking for extra funding:


    [VIDEO]


    The TechCrunch founder invested in a competing smartwatch so maybe they just wanted to put out some negative press.

    At 46:00 in the following video, the Pebble CEO explains they went to Kickstarter again to give the original backers the chance to be first with the new watch, they can probably give feedback before manufacturing too:


    [VIDEO]


    The Kickstarter campaign is a preorder for the watch with a lower price, none of the backers paid more than the eventual retail price of the watch. It would be like Apple's preorder process but with updates on development and availability. The backers will likely get their model before the watch goes to retail, which is beneficial to developers testing software.

    It's possible that over time the Pebble sales will fall off to more capable and refined smartwatches but there's a lot of room for a lot of companies to thrive in this market. An Apple Watch is designed to be used with an iPhone so it will miss out the whole Android phone market, which the Pebble and others can cater to. 1 million units in 2 years is deemed to be laughable by some people - for a large billion-dollar company it's not very good but as I say, for Pebble that's $100m in operating capital ($667k per employee at Pebble).
  • Reply 77 of 78
    cubefancubefan Posts: 53member

    A bit off topic - Actually the reason MS is going to the cloud model is because they developed a business model to prop up the share price based on subscriptions for use of Office / Outlook etc - a one time licence sale is exactly that, a repeating monthly usage fee represents an indefinite revenue stream. The same principle as XBox live, give away the physical box at less than cost price, recover the 'loss' through repeat 'X box live licenses' - 60 million times 40 UKP a go times 5 years is a LOT of money for not actually providing very much.

     

    BTW, there's a lot of opinion on this thread which is clearly NOT based on FACT.  For a straightforward use case, in terms of notifications, call screening, phone adjacency and as a conversation piece a Pebble is every bit as good as an Apple Watch.  I've been using one for a year, it works, it only needs charging about once every five days and does what I want, in fact I don't need an Apple Watch because I have a Pebble but that doesn't mean I won't buy one, just not yet

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