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

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited May 2015
Silicon Valley venture capitalists are reportedly turning down requests from smartwatch maker Pebble for funding, leading to speculation that the company may be struggling following the launch of the Apple Watch.




Citing sources close to the company, TechCrunch reported on Wednesday that Pebble instead obtained a $5 million loan and another $5 million line of credit from a bank, after efforts to secure venture capital funding were denied.

Pebble's alleged troubles come in spite of the fact that the company raised more than $20 million on Kickstarter for its latest model, the Pebble Time. That blockbuster success amounted to the largest crowdfunding campaign in history.

But while Pebble has found success as a startup, its total sales pale in comparison to wearable devices sold by larger, more established companies. It's estimated that Pebble sold 700,000 devices in 2014, earning just 7 percent of smartwatch profits with its low-end strategy.

Targeting the low end of the fledgling smartwatch market may be a difficult path for Pebble to navigate, as sources reportedly indicated to TechCrunch that the company needs funds "in order to stay afloat."

The forthcoming Pebble Time will take on the Apple Watch with a color, always-on e-ink display that will offer up to 7 days of battery life before a recharge is necessary. The Apple Watch, meanwhile, must be recharged daily, and its OLED screen turns off when the device is not being used.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 78
    Microsoft should buy it.
  • Reply 2 of 78
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    I really don't like to see the "little guy" lose but this was inevitable, sadly.

    Apple will take out the mid & upper tiers of the smart watch market leaving the rest of the competitors the bottom end.
    You're going to need a really good product to survive and even that may not be enough.
    I hope Pebble makes it through and can carve out a profitable business - looking extremely doubtful though.
  • Reply 3 of 78
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,653member

    No surprise whatsoever.  Thankfully though, Fandroids say the AppleWatch is gonna be a huge failure once the initial hype wears off.  So don't worry 3rd-rate competitors.  After all the fitness, medical, and media ecosystems that are building-up around the AppleWatch take a dump in another 10 years, you'll get your shot. /s

  • Reply 4 of 78

    I find this pretty hard to believe and unfortunate too.

     

    Prior to the Apple Watch, these guys were the innovators in the space , and they brought a truly functional device to market.

     

    Though I as well am now wearing an Apple Watch, thus supporting the potential theory that existing users were migrating, I'm sure not everyone will do that.

     

    I still think there is room in that space for a device like that. It's the lower end really.

     

    While my new Watch has many more features than the 1st version Pebble did, for well over a year the watch I had provided me with consistent notifications, weather and more. It also functioned as an amazing running watch using iOS App iSmoothRun, and I really loved the battery life - 5 to 6 days.

     

    Their new watch TIME seemed compelling enough for many to pre-purchase, so I still think there might be some bank left to Pebble. I mean, can the largest crowdfunding success ever really be just a simple byline to this story? I hope not.

     

    Love my new Watch, but hope the folks that constantly worked to make Pebble better - they did updates all the time - and the App developers who really were innovative, they deserve to succeed here. I wish them nothing but continued success.

  • Reply 5 of 78
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,991member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 78
    thewhitefalconthewhitefalcon Posts: 4,453member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 78
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,991member
    I find this pretty hard to believe and unfortunate too.

    Prior to the Apple Watch, these guys were the innovators in the space , and they brought a truly functional device to market.

    Though I as well am now wearing an Apple Watch, thus supporting the potential theory that existing users were migrating, I'm sure not everyone will do that.

    I still think there is room in that space for a device like that. It's the lower end really.

    While my new Watch has many more features than the 1st version Pebble did, for well over a year the watch I had provided me with consistent notifications, weather and more. It also functioned as an amazing running watch using iOS App iSmoothRun, and I really loved the battery life - 5 to 6 days.

    Their new watch TIME seemed compelling enough for many to pre-purchase, so I still think there might be some bank left to Pebble. I mean, can the largest crowdfunding success ever really be just a simple byline to this story? I hope not.

    Love my new Watch, but hope the folks that constantly worked to make Pebble better - they did updates all the time - and the App developers who really were innovative, they deserve to succeed here. I wish them nothing but continued success.

    You know how this works. People will buy something until something better comes along. Yes, the first models were pretty cheap. But they had to lower the price even further as the Apple Watch came out. That likely lead to their financial concerns.

    This new watch, in keeping with its more advanced design, costs more. At some point, however, the price comes close enough to the Apple Watch so that potential customers may just say the heck with it and pay the extra to get the much more sophisticated product.
  • Reply 8 of 78
    fotoformatfotoformat Posts: 299member
    I suspect this pebble will sink like a stone!
  • Reply 9 of 78
    maccherrymaccherry Posts: 924member

    ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST!

     

    OH NO YOU DIDN'T!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply 10 of 78
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,283member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RobM View Post



    Apple will take out the mid & upper tiers of the smart watch market leaving the rest of the competitors the bottom end.

     

    Which is precisely what they have done in the smartphone business. 

  • Reply 11 of 78
    robmrobm Posts: 1,068member
    melgross wrote: »
    You know how this works. People will buy something until something better comes along. Yes, the first models were pretty cheap. But they had to lower the price even further as the Apple Watch came out. That likely lead to their financial concerns.

    This new watch, in keeping with its more advanced design, costs more. At some point, however, the price comes close enough to the Apple Watch so that potential customers may just say the heck with it and pay the extra to get the much more sophisticated product.

    Doubly complicated by the other big brand competitors forced to operate in that space. There will not be enough profit margin for all.
  • Reply 12 of 78



    I had no issue whatsoever with alerts, it also had a do not disturb feature that kicked in at night as well.

     

    I'm going to have to believe it's just ignorance as far as the App statement made above.

     

    I used a number of them that included Apps that:  tracked tides, monitored weather, (my favourite),

     

    I was also paying at Starbucks with my watch for over a year, controlling slide shows at work, controlling my home and work Foscams, controlling home lighting with Wemote, getting in-game scoring updates for hockey and baseball, and using Evernote and keeping up to date on Twitter via notifications. In short, I did a lot with my Pebble. Saying their Apps didn't do much just isn't true.

     

    While I've only had my Apple Watch for a few days, I am still not able to do all of the above on this amazing piece of gear. Yet.

  • Reply 13 of 78
    vfx2k4vfx2k4 Posts: 43member
    "Innovative" up to a point. Peeble's watch was still kinda ugly and above all, geeky. Truth is, if you want to beat Apple you have to make a product that appeals to *everyone.*
  • Reply 14 of 78
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 4,027member

    Death in the horizon. Apple watch is so disruptive with all the functions, ecosystem and premium design. I don't see this company can survive this Apple watch tide. After initial hype of Apple watch first generation, the next generation will heat up and the cycle restarts. Whoever compare Apple watch with iPad are idiots. Their usage are not the same.

  • Reply 15 of 78
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 32,991member


    I had no issue whatsoever with alerts, it also had a do not disturb feature that kicked in at night as well.


    I'm going to have to believe it's just ignorance as far as the App statement made above.

    I used a number of them that included Apps that:  tracked tides, monitored weather, (my favourite),

    I was also paying at Starbucks with my watch for over a year, controlling slide shows at work, controlling my home and work Foscams, controlling home lighting with Wemote, getting in-game scoring updates for hockey and baseball, and using Evernote and keeping up to date on Twitter via notifications. In short, I did a lot with my Pebble. Saying their Apps didn't do much just isn't true.

    While I've only had my Apple Watch for a few days, I am still not able to do all of the above on this amazing piece of gear. Yet.

    We can just go by reviews that state the over simplification of the Pebble software, and how alerts are handled. If one reviewer complains, it's either that no one else cares to point out problems, which is something I see, as tech writers hate to dis a new product unless it's truly hopeless, or that it's just that one reviewer who is bothered by it. Since I've read a number of reviews that jab at the overwhelming number of alerts they get, which can't be fine tuned, I have to assume it's not capable of being refined. Perhaps the new series will be better.
  • Reply 16 of 78
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 789member
    I find it odd that selling 700,000 smart watches "pales in comparison to larger more established firms." 700k is a pretty good chunk of the market. Pebble's failure in my view is having quite excellent sales and still depending on the kindness of strangers to stay afloat.
  • Reply 17 of 78
    jcc90266jcc90266 Posts: 2member
    I'd advise everyone to take a look at the source material from TechCrunch. It definitely seems to be a bit more like speculative link bait than something substantive. AI is usually so good about vetting their material and I would have expected a bit more skepticism given TC's really weak points of evidence.
  • Reply 18 of 78
    If they can't get enough money to run their business from the largest Kickstarter ever I.e Prodict sales (from their perspective) - then they are in real trouble. :/
  • Reply 19 of 78
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,779member
    Pebbles chances in creating their own smartwatch ecosystem is approx the same as their chances in creating their own smartphone ecosystem.

    Wearables is nascent, but what Apple doesn't get, Google is pitching to be the "anti-Apple users' choice" (who know, perhaps it will be a bigger market than Apple's) and Tizen and Microsoft will fight for the table scraps left over. I'm sure Pebble can join that category and be a proud, contrarian niche.
  • Reply 20 of 78



    Ok. I was an actual user for over a year until Friday night and I had no complaints about alerts. 'Any' alerts vs. 'no' alerts on my wrist was a huge improvement over taking my phone out of my pocket. Just saying'.

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