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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.

44 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 42 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Robin Callan- Kolthoff on

      They should at least give us something after all this time.
      https://mobile.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373

    2. Nils Oun on

      Extremely disappointed indeed. Feels like giving OSSIC bit of extra rope and they hang all of us with it. Joined the lawsuit group https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/. Pledged $249 over two years ago with a naive hope I ever receive them magical promises. I'm utterly disappointed in Kickstarter aswell and this was the last time I ever recommend or join a campaign in this platform. Got scammed in Indiegogo and now Kickstarter. :( Not good!

    3. Felix on

      This is very disappointing.

      See the Kickstarters Terms for creators under term 4:
      "If a project founder fails to complete his project successfully and can not hand over the promised rewards, he has failed to fulfill essential obligations under the agreement between him and his supporters. To make amends, he should do his best to bring the project to a better conclusion for his supporters in any other way. A project founder in this position did not clarify the situation until then and fulfilled his obligations to his supporters after completing the following steps:

      - He informs his supporters about which project activities have already been carried out, for which purposes the project budget has been used and why the project can not be completed as planned.
      - He works diligently and in good faith to bring the project to the best possible conclusion within a timeframe communicated to his supporters.
      He can prove that the project budget has been used appropriately and every effort has been made to complete the project as promised.
      - He has always been honest with his supporters and has not communicated any material misrepresentations.
      -He offers to pay the remainder of the project budget to the supporters who have not yet received their rewards (in proportion to the financial contributions made), or explains how this budget will be spent to complete the project in another way ,
      The project founder is solely responsible for the promises made in his project. If he does not comply with the terms of this agreement, his supporters may, if necessary, take legal action."

    4. Missing avatar

      Jonny Merilatt on

      Well, I was super excited about this project, but the consistent delays were very frustrating. I have joined the lawsuit group https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/. I wasn't going to join the group until I read the Terms of Service stating that creators are obligated to either fulfill all rewards or provide refunds to the backers. I understand that refunding 2.7 million dollars is a big order, but that is what needs to happen. I could really use the $250 I gave to this project, and I'm very glad I didn't opt for an additional unit.

    5. Luke Clayborn Hopper on

      $350 down the drain and countless time spent reading your updates. What a dissapointment! Worst gamble of my life...

    6. Christopher Rygh on

      Join https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/ and bring the Ossic team to justice for ripping off us backers who put our trust and money in this project.

    7. Missing avatar

      David Fearon on

      "A very sad goodbye". Criminal rip off bullshit. All we wanted was an update, an honest one months and months ago; we pleaded with you bastards to just give us, the people that put our hard earned money on the table FOR YOU to pursue YOUR dreams...after months, this bullshit is what you shove down our throats.

      The money, I don't really care about that much, it's the constant lies and deceit that you have put thousands of people through, that is low, really low! As I stated in previous posts, I can order a pizza on the shitter and get live streamed updates, we got nothing from you guys.

      Utterly shameful.

      Join the group:

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/

    8. Missing avatar

      Sean Rutledge on

      Joined aswell https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/

      Frig I wish I could pay 30$ or w/e to get it shipped to me they've been in production for months now so they must have most of them done.

    9. Paul Swisher
      Superbacker
      on

      Joined https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373. I must say this is not the first time a company has folded and taken the pledges with them. Guess i'm stuck with my vr headphones for now.

    10. Devin on

      Joined the FB group. This is riducluous

    11. Missing avatar

      Marco Siljanovic on

      Also, I joined that FB group. In tie in to my previous comment.

    12. Missing avatar

      Marco Siljanovic on

      Two years of waiting, and this is what OSSIC has to show for it? Too bad the company didn’t actually inform us, the crowdfunders of how poorly they were doing financially. I don’t know what they did to spend 5 million dollars in 2 years, but clearly something smells wrong.

    13. Kersten Behrens on

      I wouldn't be surprised if they just open another company and start fresh with the product developed with our funds...

      If they cannot produce the final product, they should at least give all design files and source code to us Kickstarter bakers, because that's what we paid for and it wouldn't cost them money they don't have anymore.

    14. David Johnston on

      This is from the Kickstarter website...

      - Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their project?

      Yes. Kickstarter's Terms of Use require creators to fulfill all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfill. (This is what creators see before they launch.) We crafted these terms to create a legal requirement for creators to follow through on their projects, and to give backers a recourse if they don't. We hope that backers will consider using this provision only in cases where they feel that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfill.

      David

    15. Joseph Colón on

      I joined https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/ in hopes that we all get our money back. They should not get away with this scam and they need to be held accountable. This is the last drop for me and I won't be using Kickstarter again as I'm over spending money on projects and getting nothing in return.

    16. George Mocharko on

      Ossic, you swindled us plain and simple. You make it tough for the honest people on Kickstarter to fund their ideas because you acted like con-artists. One of the most simple rules of business is to deliver what you promise. You should have never promised to ship a product as part of your pitch. You didn't deliver what was stated upfront and now you've breached that trust and goodwill of audio enthusiasts from around the world. I sincerely hope that you won't be pitching any new ideas on here.

    17. Missing avatar

      Mark Funsch on

      Don't think this was a surprise to any of us given the volume of comments from appalled backers below. Sure, getting ripped off for $290 really sucks but for me what's worse is this (and other similar pokes in the eye) will likely mean the 'thrill' of funding the next-big-thing is gone for many of us, the risks far outweighing the return. With no recourse for investors, I am struggling to see how platforms like Kickstarter can survive. None of us will be shedding any tears for them either.

    18. Tjuhl on

      So basically this was failed business. The OSSIC team risked delivery of an already ambitious project by extending ts feature set even more. I think the OSSIC team would have been able to deliver the PC-/VR-only headset - the one without mobile capability. Focusing on this version would not have resulted in the feature creep that, in the end, killed the project. This is sad in a way that already the base project was intriguing...

    19. Missing avatar

      Carl Sahetapy on

      That’s it I’ve had enough of Kickstarter and companies taking money and then not delivering after years of waiting. No more believing in people trying to chase a dream!

    20. Topp Charoensiri on

      What can I do when I live here in Thailand? How could I get the refund???? Any answer??????

    21. Missing avatar

      Jordan Winslow on

      I was living in San Bernardino CA and thought this was an investment in my future as a music producer. I had barely any money to my name and I tried to get a refund after a year went by and they still had not shipped any units, now they are running away with everyone's money?

      I can't believe this is happening. This is not only a massive crime but absolutely disgusting... I can't believe they think they are going to get away with this, they need to be personally held accountable, they should not be able to hide behind their failure of a company, I want their personal bank accounts to suffer the same way our thousands of bank accounts suffered.

      I joined the facebook group, we need to hold these criminals accountable for their crimes.

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/

    22. Missing avatar

      Darshan Parekh on

      A nice way to scam all of us, of our hard earned money. When they started making excuses for late delivery and started giving excuses about development, they still persisted in participating at Electronic shows and also went live on Indiegogo. If they would have put the money spent on doing roadshows into development, alteast we could have had a lower version of the headphones. Now i have no choice but to buy one from the market and spend another USD 200 for a Bose or JBL. I will never trust another project on Kickstarter or Indiegogo unless the website guarantees we will get the product. Kickstarter should make changes in there policy and put the backers money in an escrow account and once the product is ready to ship the money should be transfered to the inventor. Ossics your story is total bullshit.

    23. Heide Thompson on

      Completely Misrepresenting themselves. They never kept in touch, never responded to emails, never replied back. I requested a return on my investment after years of hearing they’were in the mail’ through emails. Pure and Simple, They were shoddy and have put me off Kickstarter.

    24. Missing avatar

      Diana Sholtz on

      This is really bogus. I have been writing for quite a while to find out why I had not gotten my headphones. All I got was a run-around. I paid for a product that some got---or so the company says--but the rest of us were cheated. This is, pure and simple, fraud. When you knew you could not (or would not, as any trust I might have had in you is gone) deliver the rest of the paid-for-up-front units, you should have sent our money back instead of making up excuses for being late on delivery. You give Kickstarter a bad name, and I'm not sure I'll venture into their markets again. Shame on you!

    25. Marc Michael Murai on

      Hey... thank you for the update, and my appologies that you’re having to shut down. Congratulations on making it as far as you did. To all the upset investors out there, here are a few facts for you: Sir James Dyson had 5,126 failed prototypes prior to the Dyson, bagless vacuum cleaner became a reality (and is now the best selling bagless vacuum in the country); Thomas Edison was told he was “too stupid to learn anything” and was fired from two jobs before going on to invent the electric lamp, the phonograph and the movie camera and has over 1,000 patents credited to his name. The key is to fail forward as both Dyson and Edison each did... best of luck on your future inventions and ventures!

    26. Missing avatar

      Little Tiger
      Superbacker
      on

      Joined https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/
      Sadly this is my third audio KS I backed that failed. They all had good, innovative ideas. And they all fell flat on their face. This one was the most expensive and feels like a slap in the face. Final prototype units were event sent out to some backers! Instead of investing so much to be omni-platform and please everyone, you should have checked your burn rate and proceeded to deliver a slimmed-down version, so that at least you could avoid the acrimony of your crowd sourced investors. Disappointing.

    27. Missing avatar

      Craig on

      I'm going to take the INCREDIBLY unpopular position of sympathizing with with you guys. I knew the risks when I backed the campaign. I'm personally chalking this up to inexperience, mismanagement, and poor planning. We're all human, and people make mistakes. Your mistakes cost me a few bones, but whatever. All I can do at this point is wish you guys the best of luck in your future endeavors.

      So you do have my sympathies, but to be clear: if you sell the technology or start a new company that utilizes the technology, then I'll expect a refund or my headphones.

    28. Walter Viga on

      Holy fucking shit. Un-fucking-believable. That’s the last god damn Kickstarter I ever back. Loosing $200 and waiting 3 fucking years to get ripped off. Fuck you guys Jesus Christ. Now I have no money for good headphones since then. Fantastic. So god damn pissed of. Literally WAITING for YEARS now. Fuck you. Fuck you god damn it.

    29. Missing avatar

      Christopher Stockwell
      Superbacker
      on

      so do you have any cigarettes for us? some of us like to have a smoke after we get fucked.

    30. Missing avatar

      John H Abbott
      Superbacker
      on

      It is very unfortunate to hear that you will be completely shutting down. I will say however I do feel more than a little disheartened that after pledging a significant amount of money towards a great project, to be held in waiting for two years, only to now be told ‘sorry, we are closing up shop, you won’t be getting what was promised to you or anything else.’ Thanks for false hopes.

    31. Missing avatar

      Jared on

      I would like to say that I got to see & hear the prototype headphones at e3 2017.... I was quite amazed with the potential. I am an audio & music professional and there are a lot of "good headphones" out there, but the programming behind OSSIC to implement and use with VR was awesome.
      I'm not sure what caused the sudden drop & shut-down... but I'm right here with you all with trying to get refunded.

    32. Jack Yuan on

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/

      Really wished there was more communications.

    33. Missing avatar

      antonio rivero on

      Well, will try to refund with the credit card and if not , already joining the class action group. https://mobile.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373…

    34. Asif
      Superbacker
      on

      Does anyone know if action can be taken against the individuals.. as they might set up other project's

    35. Missing avatar

      Will on

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/

      Almost four years of waiting...200+ dollars spent and I get an apology email instead of my headphones? You'll be damn sure I won't let this go until the bitter end.

    36. ralph de pagter on

      Joined
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/

      Hope we can make a case out of this scam, but I doubt it. My conclusion: they wanted to much to put into the design, while initially I was content with just 3D audio. I did not ask for other BS, I am not a gamer, just an audio fanatic.