The web site TechCrunch is reporting that Skully helmets has ceased operations, apparently leaving around 2,000 would-be early adopters empty-handed after investing anywhere from $1,400 to $2,000.
The company was once the subject of a lot of buzz in the industry, with its AR-1 helmet with a heads-up display and other high-tech features. Nearly two years ago, Skully invited our reporter inside their operations to see the prototypes they were working on. Lots of people saw promise. Hundreds of thousands watched the Skully videos and when the company launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, it raised more than $2.4 million as nearly 2,000 people invested money in exchange for the promise of receiving a helmet.
If the TechCrunch story turns out to be accurate, those people will have nothing to show for their investment.
Since that story two years ago, there has been no good news coming out of Skully. Almost exactly a year ago, we reported that Skully had issued a video to try to reassure anxious customers about the constantly delayed deadlines for delivering a product. Time and again, the company changed the date for shipping helmets to consumers. More recently, reports surfaced that company founders and brothers Marcus and Mitch Weller had been ousted from leadership positions by major investors in the company.
Personally, I was never all that interested in adding HUD technology to my motorcycle helmet, but it was extremely instructive to me to see how excited some of my colleagues were about the innovations Skully promised. That enthusiasm, both from people in the business and everyday riders, convinced me there is a real future for the technology, even if Skully and the Weller brothers are not the ones who will be able to deliver it.