Electric motorcycle startup shutters after losing top talent to Apple

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited October 2015
Apple's anticipated automotive project has led the company to recruit talent from competing companies both big and small. But its wooing of top-level engineers from a San Francisco-based electric vehicle startup is said to have been so significant, it caused that company to close its doors earlier this year.


The "Mission R" motorcycle from Mission Motors was never released.


Mission Motors filed for bankruptcy in September, but ceased operations in May after some of its top talent fled for positions at Apple, Reuters reported on Monday. Prior to its closure, Mission was an electric motorcycle builder founded in 2007 which also supplied electric vehicle components.

The private, venture-capital funded operation remained small --?its Wikipedia page suggests it had just 35 employees, explaining why a few key hires by Apple could allegedly collapse the company. Apple is believed to have hired key personnel from other, much larger companies, including the likes of Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, and Tesla.

Apple's recruitment of engineers from Tesla, in particular, is said to have been so significant that it has negatively affected Tesla's own internal product development, sources told AppleInsider in September.

Apple also recruited key talent from electric vehicle battery maker A123 Systems, which led the company to sue over alleged illegal poaching. The lost staff forced A123 to shut down several projects, while contributing to "a large scale [Apple] battery division to compete in the very same field," A123 claimed in its suit.

As for Mission Motors, key personnel from that company believe it could have stayed in business and raised new rounds of funding if they had been able to retain talent. But recruiting efforts from Apple, as well as other companies, prompted potential investors to back out.

Specifically, Apple was said to be interested in Mission's talent related to electric drive systems. At least eight personnel from the company are said to have joined Apple since 2012, though the iPhone maker reportedly never sought to acquire the company itself.

The remaining assets of Mission are owned by Infield Capital, which is trying to sell them off. Its electric motorcycle never shipped to consumers.

Apple, meanwhile, is believed to be secretly working on an electrical vehicle project that could have an internal ship date of 2020.

An AppleInsider investigation conducted earlier this year revealed that Apple has a secret facility in Sunnyvale, Calif., where sources say the bulk of the work on a concept known as "Project Titan" has been underway. The automotive project is said to be shrouded in secrecy inside a top-secret building code-named SG5.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 58
    I read this news elsewhere as well. Could've easily been titled Electric Motorcycle Startup Shutters Losing Talent to Google. It's an anti-apple bias.

    Additionally, they were struggling and couldn't get funding. Only at that point did its engineers start to leave. It could also be titled Electric Motorcycle Startup Shutters Due To Failed Business Model.
  • Reply 2 of 58
    And of course the people whose business failed will blame external forces rather than saying that their business couldn't attract funding. It's much more complementary to themselves
  • Reply 3 of 58
    formosaformosa Posts: 261member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iObserve View Post



    I read this news elsewhere as well. Could've easily been titled Electric Motorcycle Startup Shutters Losing Talent to Google. It's an anti-apple bias.



    Additionally, they were struggling and couldn't get funding. Only at that point did its engineers start to leave. It could also be titled Electric Motorcycle Startup Shutters Due To Failed Business Model.



    Agreed. The Mission R was a high-end bike, unlike the more mainstream models from Zero Motorcycles, who continue to add to their line-up.

     

    I guess the Mission R was Mission's equivalent to the Tesla Roadster.

  • Reply 4 of 58
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    But but but, Apple's not making a car. Apple's just making software for other people's cars. I mean that's what everyone says, right? /s

    Seriously, can someone explain how Apple would make software for other companies cars without being intimately involved in the design of said car(s)? It's not like this is something you add on after the car is built. It's an integral part of the vehicle. And certainly not one size fits all. How would that work?
  • Reply 5 of 58
    Already-Bankrupt company closes when engineers who want to be paid leave? Big bad mystery there. SRSLY.
  • Reply 6 of 58
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 570member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    But but but, Apple's not making a car. Apple's just making software for other people's cars. I mean that's what everyone says, right? /s



    Seriously, can someone explain how Apple would make software for other companies cars without being intimately involved in the design of said car(s)? It's not like this is something you add on after the car is built. It's an integral part of the vehicle. And certainly not one size fits all. How would that work?

    Depends what you mean with software. If you mean the entertainment software (CarPlay), that can probably be built based on specs provided by car makes. And that is what Apple (and other consumer companies) can build well.

     

    If you mean software that is integrated in the car's drive train, suspension, etc, the question is why would a car maker want Apple to develop these? These are key competitive differentiators (such as safety equipment, battery and performance management, and active assist systems such as "autopilot") and car manufacturers are spending millions to get these done ahead of their competitors. Plus, building industrial software is probably not Apple's forte; although it may be that that is a direction the firm wants to go for growth (evident in the IBM co-operation?)

  • Reply 7 of 58
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,088member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iObserve View Post



    I read this news elsewhere as well. Could've easily been titled Electric Motorcycle Startup Shutters Losing Talent to Google. It's an anti-apple bias.



    Additionally, they were struggling and couldn't get funding. Only at that point did its engineers start to leave. It could also be titled Electric Motorcycle Startup Shutters Due To Failed Business Model.



    The above article clearly, unequivocally implies that Apple is at fault for the startup’s failure. Evil giant corporation kills little guy just trying to innovate and make a living.

  • Reply 8 of 58
    I wonder how long Mission Motors, founded 2007, intended to go and not ship a product... it isn't like they have unlimited money... or did they think they had?
  • Reply 9 of 58
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 570member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Macky the Macky View Post



    I wonder how long Mission Motors, founded 2007, intended to go and not ship a product... it isn't like they have unlimited money... or did they think they had?

    I wonder how long it can possibly take to develop an electric motorcycle.....

  • Reply 10 of 58
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Seriously, can someone explain how Apple would make software for other companies cars without being intimately involved in the design of said car(s)? 

    Isn't that the general model employed by Samsung vis-à-vis making hardware for Apple?

  • Reply 11 of 58
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     



    Clickbait is becoming the norm at AI. The above article clearly, unequivocally implies that Apple is at fault for the startup’s failure. Evil giant corporation kills little guy just trying to innovate and make a living.




    I'm waiting for the article headlined, "Child cannot complete homework because of the number of games available on Apple's iPad."

  • Reply 12 of 58
    sflagelsflagel Posts: 570member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by boredumb View Post

     

    Isn't that the general model employed by Samsung vis-à-vis making hardware for Apple?


    Consumer devices that are full of bugs (that "will be fixed at the next release") are not the same as industrial strength manufacturing software, where even an ignition switch will cost you millions in damages.

  • Reply 13 of 58
    schlackschlack Posts: 672member
    that's the sad side of the apple ramp up....hope tesla continues onward to success...i'm waiting to preorder my model 3
  • Reply 14 of 58
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post



    Seriously, can someone explain how Apple would make software for other companies cars without being intimately involved in the design of said car(s)? It's not like this is something you add on after the car is built. It's an integral part of the vehicle. And certainly not one size fits all. How would that work?

     

    Really?  What influence did apple have on designing Porsches? I'll give you a clue, it's a nice round number.

    Imagine it...

     

    Porsche: Hey apple your software is rather cool, d'ya think you could knock something neat up for our cars?

    Apple: Yeah, but we want a hand in designing your cars...

    Porsche: Get suffed, Ives only knows how to design boxes with the corners rounded off.

  • Reply 15 of 58
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,147member

    Did anyone ever think this company was a sinking ship and those who knew better decided to get out before they were told to get out. Now all startups are successful, so this could have been just one of those who would have never made it anyway. Sounds like those with talent decide to run before they got their walking papers.

  • Reply 16 of 58
    davendaven Posts: 457member
    So Apple gets sued for having a "no poaching" agreement with Google and others and gets sued for poaching from another company. Talk about a can't win situation.
  • Reply 17 of 58
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    sflagel wrote: »
    Depends what you mean with software. If you mean the entertainment software (CarPlay), that can probably be built based on specs provided by car makes. And that is what Apple (and other consumer companies) can build well.

    If you mean software that is integrated in the car's drive train, suspension, etc, the question is why would a car maker want Apple to develop these? These are key competitive differentiators (such as safety equipment, battery and performance management, and active assist systems such as "autopilot") and car manufacturers are spending millions to get these done ahead of their competitors. Plus, building industrial software is probably not Apple's forte; although it may be that that is a direction the firm wants to go for growth (evident in the IBM co-operation?)

    I meant the latter, not CarPlay. There's no way in hell Apple has a team of over 1,000 and is hiring the people it is for this project if they're just working on a better version of CarPlay. Many of the "analysts" that claim Apple is just working on software (like Tim Bajarin and the guy why runs the site Patently Apple) and not an actual car are suggesting it's very sophisticated software. It baffles me that they think Apple could do this independent of actually building a car or working hand in hand with an existing automaker.
  • Reply 18 of 58
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by helicoil View Post

     

    ... only knows how to design boxes with the corners rounded off.


     

    That pretty much describes a 911. (aesthetically at any rate.) ;)

  • Reply 19 of 58
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    boredumb wrote: »
    Isn't that the general model employed by Samsung vis-à-vis making hardware for Apple?

    I thought Apple did its own chip design. What hardware is Samsung designing for Apple?
  • Reply 20 of 58
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by KingOfSomewhereHot View Post

     

     

    (aesthetically at any rate.) ;)


    I know but don't tell the fanboys! ;-)

Sign In or Register to comment.