Lawsuit against founders of Skully, the failed connected helmet-maker reportedly dropped.
The dream of an augmented reality projecting, heads-up display motorcycle helmet has been offered by a few companies over recent years, but there have been none more famous and fabled than Californian technology Start-up Skully.
Launched via Indiegogo in 2014 the company managed to raise $2,446,824 in crowdsourced funds to help them deliver their AR-1 helmet. However despite securing another whopping $11 million in additional investor funding, after much delay and negative press, the company announced in August of 2016 that they were closing; and that few (if any) of the helmets promised would be delivered.
Of the many reports with regards to the company’s inability to ship a final product, the most voracious and damaging of all where the ones surrounding the alleged misappropriation of funds by the two founding brothers of the company, Mitchell and Marcus Weller.
In a lawsuit filed by ex-employee Isabelle Faithauer who claimed wrongful dismissal, Faithauer filed a complaint claiming that the ‘Wellers used Skully corporate accounts as their personal piggy banks’ and that they had demanded that Faithauer ‘conceal the true nature of the expenses by entering them in Skully’s books to make it appear that the expenses were incurred for legitimate business expenses, which in fact they were clearly not’.
Amongst the list of falsely claimed expenses, the lawsuit detailed such payments being made on a variety of items, from Grocery Bills through to a pair of Dodge Vipers and a $13,000 trip to Las Vegas.
Once news of the lawsuit broke – and the details within it emerged – forums, message-boards and Indiegogo themselves were inundated with hundreds of customers and product investors furious at the alleged misuse of their funds; not to mention the lack of actual helmet that they had paid for.
Whilst it may not have been the absolute reason for Skully’s failure, there is no doubt that the negative press and legal expenses surrounding the case did not come at the best time for the company and had played a significant role in the ultimate closure of the business.
However it’s been brought to Motofire’s attention – via an anonymous message online – that the plaintiff for the case, Isabelle Faithauer herself has now withdrawn her claims that and has in fact admitted that her accusations made in the lawsuit could be construed as being ‘without merit’.
According to the document that we have been sent, Faithauer states that after her dismissal from Skully, Inc in December 2015 she was ‘upset’ and that during the discovery phase of her case by her attorney she soon came to learn that ‘many facts, documents, and information th’ uncovered ‘could lead a reasonable jury to conclude that [her] claims were totally without merit’.
She states that it is for this reason that she dismissed her claims against the Wellers in an agreement to settle for mutual release of claims. The document is signed 28th of December 2017.
Motofire have attempted to contact both Faithauer and her Attorney to confirm the veracity of the statement we have received but at the time of publishing have not received reply.
It’s another intriguing twist in a company tale and story that seems to refuse to lay down and die and whatever the truth, there is no doubt that Skully tapped into the desire for motorcyclists to utilise greater technology within their day-to-day riding, and that the heads-up technology envisioned by the company will eventually be developed successfully.
In fact, since the initial closure of Skully helmets, a new consortium have taken ownership of the brand and have promised to release their version of the AR-1 helmet – now appropriately titled the Fenix – in the summer of 2018.
Neither of the Weller brothers have any involvement in the new setup.