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OSSIC X is the world's first headphone that instantly calibrates to your anatomy for the most accurate and immersive 3D audio.
OSSIC X is the world's first headphone that instantly calibrates to your anatomy for the most accurate and immersive 3D audio.
OSSIC X is the world's first headphone that instantly calibrates to your anatomy for the most accurate and immersive 3D audio.
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10,263 backers pledged $2,708,472 to help bring this project to life.

A Very Sad Goodbye.

43 likes

Hello Backers,

It is with an extremely heavy heart that we must inform you that OSSIC is shutting down and will be unable to deliver the remaining OSSIC X headphones.

The OSSIC X was an ambitious and expensive product to develop. With funds from the crowdfunding campaign, along with angel investment, we were able to develop the product and ship the initial units. However, the product still requires significantly more capital to ramp to full mass production, and the company is out of money.

Over the last 18 months, we have explored a myriad of financing options, but given VR’s slow start and a number of high profile hardware startup failures, we have been unable to secure the investment required to proceed.

This was obviously not our desired outcome. The team worked exceptionally hard and created a production-ready product that is a technological and performance breakthrough. To fail at the 5 yard-line is a tragedy. We are extremely sorry that we cannot deliver your product and want you to know that the team has done everything possible including investing our own savings and working without salary to exhaust all possibilities.

The OSSIC X was started as a campaign to create immersive and interactive audio. One of the biggest questions was, in a world of small earbuds and phone speakers, do people really care about great audio? Are they truly interested in the next generation of 3D audio? The success of the campaign was a resounding “YES” that has had a ripple in the audio industry.

We will forever be grateful to you and the team members, investors, and business partners who believed in us and helped give our dream a fighting chance. We were able to achieve some amazing things in an industry that was, and still is, ripe for innovation. Your voice of support throughout these past 2 years will continue to bring change to the industry, as bigger players than us refocus their efforts into better, smarter, and more immersive audio. 

Thank you for all of your support, and we sincerely apologize that we could not deliver all of the headphones.

Sincerely,

- OSSIC Team

--------- 

More information: 

What was accomplished on the project and how were the crowdfunding funds used?

After spending over 2 years working on the Research and Development of the OSSIC X we were able to complete the development of the hardware and initial versions of the software. 

The headphone went through 5 proof-of-concept level builds, 4 engineering/factory builds, and 1 pilot production build—where we completed 250 units and delivered the first ones to those backers on Kickstarter who pledged for the innovator edition reward.

It took, at times, 20 people with expertise in software, electrical, firmware, mechanical, acoustical, signal processing, and sound engineering, as well as UI/UX, industrial design, and program management to develop and ship those units.

The crowdfunding money we received played a huge role in allowing us to get as far and accomplish as much we did – funding half of the R&D and production costs needed to bring the product to life.

Why was this so expensive to develop?

Inventing something new while also developing complex hardware is expensive. The addition of stretch-goals to add mobile support increased the software scope from two operating systems to five, added an incredibly powerful 32-core processor onboard the headphones for processing, and required us to enter into substantial business development with mobile manufacturers to support multi-channel connectivity. It ultimately doubled the size of our development. 

The unknowns that come from grounds-up development with so many new features ultimately stacked up to create delays and cost overruns.

What made this project so exciting, and ultimately ended up being its Achilles heel, was the complexity and scope. This project was complex because it had 3 large categories of development, all with new and unique elements: 1.) Hardware, 2.) Software, and 3.) Audio Ecosystem.

Hardware new/unique/different features: A typical headphone would only have 2 playback transducers, but the X has 8 playback transducers, 6 microphones, and multiple sensors. In addition to the complexity of more elements, head-tracking was a new feature, yet the trackers on the market were too slow. Thus we needed to upgrade mid-stream to achieve smooth tracking.

The software was complex because it required new algorithms to dynamically incorporate sensor information and beamform across the playback transducers. Additionally, with the stretch goals, we needed to support 5 different platforms: embedded-DSP, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android for both UI and custom signal processing. A typical headphone has no software at all. The initial headphone units successfully incorporated custom algorithms and played back over Windows, macOS, and 3.5mm platforms. The iOS and Android app were created and were were on track to be finalized after working through the UI/UX with Beta backers on Windows and macOS.

Additionally, the audio ecosystem itself is complex as 3D audio continues to rapidly changing/developing. VR, gaming, film, and music workflows are different, with tools and formats varying across sectors, and VR/AR workflows were still being defined as we developed. 3D audio information is present in much of the media, but remained inaccessible to the user. Our goal was to ensure compatibility with as many devices as possible, and to give the best experience required ecosystem development and exploration of developer tools. To that end, developer tools including a VST plugin and FMOD Plugin were created, and released in beta to select developers.

How have other companies crowdfunding complex hardware projects succeeded? 

Most crowdfunded companies working on similar complex hardware such as Oculus, and Doppler labs have raised >$10 Million in other investment before delivering on their projects. 

As another reference, Creative labs claims to have spent over $100M working on 3D audio. http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/companies-markets/creative-brings-3d-sound-to-headphones-after-us100m-rd

Why can’t you ship the remaining units?

We were not able to secure additional funding, and are out of money. It would take more than 2 million additional dollars to complete mass production of the remaining backlog.

What about other investment?

OSSIC raised substantial Seed Investment from sources other than crowdfunding. Crowdfunding represented about half of total funding.

Initial investment traction was strong, but the slower than expected adoption of VR and the failure of several high-profile crowdfunded hardware companies made it challenging for us to raise subsequent financing.

We explored over 150 investor partnerships in total. While we had some we thought were going to come together, ultimately they did not materialize.

What about StartEngine?

In February of this year, OSSIC launched a crowdfunded equity campaign on the StartEngine platform, hoping it could raise the initial funds to start mass production, and be a catalyst for broader investment. While we secured $130k in commitments, it was not enough interest for us to be able to move forward into production and so we ended the campaign without taking the funds.

What about OSSIC the company?

The company is shutting down effective immediately. We have a very dedicated team up folks who have remained for the last 6 months, working for free, doing anything they could to try and make the company succeed. Through their efforts we were at least able to ship the innovator units.

Can’t someone else build the product?

We engaged with many larger companies who had interest in our technology, but ultimately none of them had both the appetite and ability to make the required investment to bring the product to market.

Ricken Eriksen, bhagvan, and 41 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Missing avatar

      Greg Busch on

      I invoke my rights under Kickstarter's Terms of Use: https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012
      "Project creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."
      I demand a full refund for my pledge amount.

    2. Youjing Toh on

      I invoke my rights under Kickstarter's Terms of Use: https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012
      "Project creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."
      I demand a full refund for my pledge amount.

    3. Eyhab Abdeen on

      I invoke my rights under Kickstarter's Terms of Use: https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012
      "Project creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."
      I demand a full refund for my pledge amount.

    4. John Bartlett on

      Don't bother asking for a refund - there's no money left to refund.

      Ugh.

    5. Missing avatar

      Anna Hall on

      I invoke my rights under Kickstarter's Terms of Use: https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012

      "Project creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."
      I demand a full refund for my pledge amount.

    6. Riley Arnold on

      I invoke my rights under Kickstarter's Terms of Use: https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012
      "Project creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."
      I demand a full refund for my pledge amount.

    7. Eric Hammer
      Superbacker
      on

      @Jashan, perhaps you didn't bother to read why we are all angry? This is NOT about KS terms. This is about mismanagement. They squandered $8 million on trade shows and marketing and all kinds of other crap instead of producing headphones. They stole shipping money, which should have been kept inviolate since it was given EXCLUSIVELY for shipping the headphones when they were ready. Moreover, they didn't bother to give us a single indication something was wrong. All along they lied and claimed everything was peachy and then one day out of the blue, we are told oh sorry, we've been going downhill for a long time now.

      Honest creators would have kept the shipping money separate so it could be refunded since it was never given for development purposes. Honest creators would have shared the difficulties they were having all along instead of lying and then one day all of a sudden saying oh sorry, we're leaving.

    8. Nick on

      I invoke my rights under Kickstarter's Terms of Use: https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012
      "Project creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."
      I demand a full refund for my pledge amount.

    9. Michael Ols on

      you guys are quitting at the 5 yard line??? how was this project so mismanaged? waited years just to get left w/ nothing??? I'm just as mad I won't get these awesome headphones as I am about the money - really fucking weak

    10. Missing avatar

      Danijel Pavlovic on

      I invoke my rights under Kickstarter's Terms of Use: https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012
      "Project creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."
      I demand a full refund for my pledge amount.

    11. Missing avatar

      Keene on

      Hi there,

      It is indeed disappointing that this has happened, but the backers would have appreciated earlier notice.

      1) However, it is still up to the company to fulfill their obligations to the backers, according to Kickstarter's terms of use: "Project creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."

      2) Furthermore, since things have been going south since 6 months before May, and I requested for a refund in late January, I believe this also applies in my case:
      "A Project Creator is not required to grant a Backer’s request for a refund unless the Project Creator is unable or unwilling to fulfill the reward."

    12. Ryan Robinson on

      Looking forward to the lawsuit
      Just joined the facebook group

    13. Missing avatar

      martin Padilla on

      Very, very disappointing this was the first of three KS projects I backed and still waiting for the others to produce and needless to say at this point I don’t trust KS and won’t be backing any more start up companies. I hope a class action lawsuit is in the making because I definitely want in on the deal. With the amount of money and total lack of respect and commitment to the backers a federal investigation is warranted here.

    14. Mauro Mauri on

      I invoke my rights under Kickstarter's Terms of Use: https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012
      "Project creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."
      I demand a full refund for my pledge amount.

    15. Missing avatar

      Karl on

      I invoke my rights under Kickstarter's Terms of Use: https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012
      "Project creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."
      I demand a full refund for my pledge amount.

    16. Brenton on

      I invoke my rights under Kickstarter's Terms of Use: https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012
      "Project creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fundraising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill."
      I demand a full refund for my pledge amount.

    17. Abbas on

      I invoke my rights under kickstarter's Terms of Use: https://www.kickstarter.com/terms-of-use/oct2012
      "Project creators are required to fulfill all rewards of their successful fund aising campaigns or refund any Backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill"
      I demand a full refund for my pledge amount.

    18. Jashan
      Superbacker
      on

      @all: I just wonder how bloody stupid you all are!!! Never really got to the point down at the page where the risks are stated??!!??? It is CLEARLY! pointed that you invest in a product that is jet to develop!!! And it is NOT the „I order a product at e.g. Amazon“-thing!!!
      To me it was more then clear that I invest Money that those guys can develop a NEW kind of headphone that is very, very complex with 3D-sound and movement-tracking! And it was more than Cleary to me that it may take longer than they stated and there will be a high chance they might fail!
      I can understand that most of you are feel more than uneasy about the high amount of traveling they did - I try to convince myself that it was to get more people to go and invest more money…
      Nevertheless it is really nasty to call the guys at OSSIC scammers and to threaten them with a lawsuit!
      That was the risk you all took!
      So motherf***ing come down and don‘t give KS any guilt!

    19. Captain Foobar on

      Hey, sensible snowflakes. Next time try to read the Kickstarter Policy before clicking the button. Jerks.

    20. Missing avatar

      Tobias Paice on

      What about the extra shipping charges? Surely that money was saved for the actual shipping? And if not, isn't that fraudulently charged?

    21. Missing avatar

      Sadie Chase on

      Oh Hell no. What a load of crap. CROOKS. Joining that class action on Facebook. I want my money back you jerks.

    22. James I. Pisano on

      This is not acceptable. This has come literally *out of nowhere*. If this wasn’t seen miles away, you have been *incredibly* negligent. We are investors... essentially partners in this process. If your imminent financial ruin had been communicated to the network of backers, perhaps something could have been done. But instead, we get an 11th hour reneg. This not only sours my opinion of this team and everyone involved, but of Kickstarter in general. Shame on you.

    23. Phil Wikina on

      So will there be refunds or will there be pitchforks....you guys decide.

    24. Roland Nikolic on

      I have no words to describe my utter disappointment. Few are the products I have been waiting for so eagerly, so patiently... What a f#cking shame -_-

    25. Tomm Schlunke on

      In one word: inacceptable. First Kickstarter project i joined ever, and i swear it will be the last. Sorry for all those other honest and sincere project-creators; things like this OSSIC X failure harm the whole Platform! I hope Kickstarter sues them too.
      Thanks for setting up the Facebook page, just applied to join.

    26. Amanda Lewanski
      Superbacker
      on

      Bryan Jackson, thank you so much for the Facebook page link - I've applied to join. Is the FTC complaint something they can help me with, or should I make noise in another venue? This is ridiculous.

    27. Missing avatar

      Kevin Shell on

      Thanks jerks. I have backed a number of crowdfunding projects, but will not do it any more. I have been ripped off on four projects. In every case, I can’t get a response from anybody. It has just become an embarrassment, for me, that I have been so trusting and gullible.

    28. Missing avatar

      Kevin Shell on

      Pathetic!!! After keeping us on the hook for far too long, and mismanaging the funds, you close down and run like cowards, instead of facing your obligations and responsibilities. Somebody has to be held accountable, otherwise crowdfunding becomes a joke.

    29. Missing avatar

      Beat on

      damn feckers!

    30. Bryan Jackson
      Superbacker
      on

      So, you net THIRTY-TWO TIMES the amount you said you'd need to finish the headphones, ship out just 80 units (a measly $79,920 out of the $3.2million from KS/IGG), say sorry, peace out homies and figure we're going to lie down and take it? Nope. KS's terms don't protect you like IGG's do.

      Sect 4: When a project is successfully funded, the creator must complete the project and fulfill each reward. Once a creator has done so, they’ve satisfied their obligation to their backers.

      80 units out of 11,934? Not even close.

      Just filed my FTC complaint, this group made it very easy.
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/

      The money involved in this whole thing is a dream case for an attorney. At this dollar amount, this might even be up the alley of the FBI's IC3 division.

    31. Missing avatar

      Andrew Strachan on

      Very unfortunate for all the genuine product developers out there. This was my eighth Kickstarter funding and the only one to go under, but never again. I always used to wonder why they didn't just develop and make the damn product instead of skiving off around the wold 'impressing' everyone at trade shows.

    32. Sean Blair on

      Enjoy the profits you receive from your patent while all of us say goodbye to our investment and receive nothing. Glad to see you guys got to travel the world and attend every relevant trade show to market an unfinished product. Such a disappointment. It’s products like yours and Phazon that undermine people’s confidence in the crowdfunding process. I hope that none of you are allowed to put another product on Kickstarter ever again.

    33. Gokce Gumus on

      I feel robbed after 2 years of patience!

    34. Victor Chan
      Superbacker
      on

      ...

    35. Missing avatar

      Richie on

      This is the last drop. Feeling robbed. This is the 3rd project this year for me left out with nothing. No more kickstarter for me.

    36. Missing avatar

      jeff on

      this is nightmare, no news, never reply email about update and shipping suddenly no refund and company gone like wind

    37. Adam McGready on

      Not only did you admit failure YEARS after leaving people in the dark, but you aren’t even offering refunds to your backers. Did you honestly think a lawsuit wouldn’t come from this? You robbed people and kept them in the dark and avoided answers for a very long time. As a company, you should pay for how you handled this.

    38. Missing avatar

      Willem on

      After my comment I made yesterday on this public comment forum, and thinking it all over, I decided to remove the Kickstarter-app form my ipad. It’s done. Cheerio to you all.

    39. Missing avatar

      Willem on

      We are ripped off. I sympathise with the class suit action, but since I am not American I cannot join. I hope the action will be succesfull.

      More then a year ago I wrote an email to KS to warn them for the negative publicity for KS if Ossic would fail. Their reaction was formal: the risk for participation in a KS-project was solely on me. Today KS sees its status as a reliable party decline as a result of Ossic’s behaviour. I hope that KS will evaluate their position too.

    40. Isaac President on

      Hopefully they get destroyed and face severe legal action!