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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.
Created by
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

      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!

    2. 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!

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. Jack Yuan on

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

      Really wished there was more communications.

    10. 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…

    11. Asif
      Superbacker
      on

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

    12. 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.

    13. 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.

    14. Missing avatar

      Daniel Mårtensson on

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

      Same question as Adam Kinniburgh, what can EU-citizens do?

    15. Adam Kinniburgh on

      Joined the class action group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373), but does anyone in the US know if class actions can include non-US residents these days? Struggling to find an answer. I live in the UK and I don't think we have an equivalent to class actions here, and certainly nothing covering "foreign" businesses.

    16. Andreas Bong Wijaya on

      after waiting and waiting. eventually they give bad news like this ... very bad company just sell lies....OSSIC X damn you...
      joined the class lawsuit group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/

    17. Tristan Young on

      You'll get sued the shit out of your ass.

    18. Ronald van Dijk on

      Ossic you suck!! I totale went for youre bullshit.. but i had a feeling this Would happen..
      Wise lesson learned.. never to back a kickstarter again..
      early backer from Holland signing out ;-)

    19. Missing avatar

      Joel Monteiro on

      Ok... after 24h of feeling sorry (for myself and my money) I just submitted a complaint to BBB: https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started and FTC: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/…

      Also joined the class lawsuit group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/

      Now... I really don't believe this will take us anywhere but I would be very happy to see something going forward with this.
      All I want is my money back and move forward. I even paid $40 extra for shipping overseas...

      Those unscrupulous morons are just living a high life thanks to our hard earned money... I hope karma will take care of all of you. Then, I will also send you an email saying "I am sorry".

    20. Missing avatar

      Adam on

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/
      Joined, so many questions....
      Is this legal?
      What does Kickstarter have to say?
      Where are the fist batch of units and did they work?
      Where did all the money go?

    21. Dan Smith
      Superbacker
      on

      That said, previous updates up to this point have been 'it's all going fine', then suddenly, 'ok thx bye'. I had no clue there were problems until this update. That wasn't cool.

    22. Missing avatar

      Jason Miller on

      Pretty much +1 what everyone else said but just so the comment count reflects the strength of public opinion. Is investing in new tech risky? Sure is. Did these guys go about it the right way? Sure didn't. I'm sure if they went after real VC they would have failed the vetting process - so instead they got $$ from us amateurs who wanted to see a cool concept come to life. Along with many others, I pretty much knew this was coming. I'm surprised they held out as long as they did but I was not at all surprised by the announcement. I AM surprised they even bothered to post that apology - what is is worth to any of us?

    23. Dan Smith
      Superbacker
      on

      +1 what Alex Delaney said. Hit the nail on the head.

    24. Missing avatar

      Saud on

      I saw this coming when these idiots were obviously more concerned on showing off this non-existing product and flying around with my and all the backers money to all these shows trying to scam more people.
      Lessons learned: if it's too good to be true, run away. I will never back a project with more than $15 unless Kickstarter finds a way to combat this kind of mismanagement and scammy behaviour.
      Please accept me in the facebook group @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/

    25. Missing avatar

      Hadrien Parinaud on

      And you didn't see it coming before...

    26. Missing avatar

      dm18 on

      5,932,914 + in funding, If they really made 250 headsets. That means each headset cost 2,3731.67 to make.

    27. Luis Mok on

      Open source all the design spec in hardware, software. It’s not possible you can simply walk away with a sorry. If you going to bankrupt the computer, hand in all the Intellectual property, we deserve to get everything left In the company.

    28. Missing avatar

      Derek on

      If only you hadn't spent 2 million on advertising a product that doesn't exist...it might've existed.

    29. Nicos Economides on

      Kickstarter to share proportionally ALL OF THEIR revenue received from this crowdfunding project to all backers!!!!!!!!

    30. Justin Teo on

      Yeah... No. You don't get a "Oops, sorry guys" when you clearly received funding that far exceeded your intended capital.

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

    31. Nicos Economides on

      Throughout last 10-12 months, I did not have high expectations of seeing this product, the updates became much less common without any substance or progress.

      Lesson to be learned, investing money in a new company / startup has definite danger of potential loss of the investment. I am furious reading that tons of their money went to:

      1) PR instead or R&D.

      2) Trying to achieve one of the stretch goals "The addition of stretch-goals to add mobile support increased the software scope from two operating systems to five which has double the amount of work" . What did you expect?

      3) "It took, at times, 20 people with expertise in software, electrical, firmware, mechanical, acoustical, signal processing, and sound engineering".

      These are high salaries to be paid, how did you even come up with the initial $100K figure and thought it would be enough to cover the cost? Even though you got $6mil from the crowdfunding, this amount proved to be insufficient.

      Kickstarter projects in the range of millions should be releasing their accounts and expenditure in the future. I am extremely hesitant to back any other kickstarter project again.

    32. Jordan Weiner on

      With the ongoing broken commitments at least this won't waste anymore of our time and continue to be a significant negative lingering frustrating experience. It is gross mismanagement of funds and it is a shame everyone's money is gone ... it also puts severe credibility issues for backing other Kickstarter projects... which is really sad because there are a lot of good people that will deliver or refund monies for products not delivered. OSSIC hurt my daughter's belief in investing in Kickstarter projects and vendors... at least I paid on a CitiBank credit card and they refunded my money since when they contacted OSSIC after failing to deliver on promised dates over and over OSSIC told CitiBank they will not refund the money and this was LONG before they "ran out of money"... so all you others out there... if you paid on a credit card report this as fraud!!!!

    33. Sebastian Brandt on

      Oh really... Especially after everything looked good because the Initial Units were sent out. Sad ... True true.

    34. Adam on

      I consider this borderline fraudulent. Kickstarter is also responsible for the complete lack of transparency. For Ossic to think they could just take funding and not deliver anything at all - and then have the audacity to send out a quick email before closing shop - is disgraceful.

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

      Also, if Kickstarter doesn't reimburse and/or compensate in any shape or form shame on them. What an absolute disgrace.

    35. Alex Delaney
      Superbacker
      on

      This sucks but at least they aren't dragging it out with more fake updates for another year or more. Losing the money sucks but what's done is done. I stopped supporting Kickstarter stuff for this exact reason. Now more will do the same. RIP our money.

    36. Missing avatar

      Paul Harlyn on

      The Finance To Value Framework - By Fred Wilson - VC
      There are two major failure modes in startups.

      The first common failure mode is the thing you make doesn’t get adopted. That’s called not finding product market fit in startup lingo.

      The second common failure mode is “getting too far out over your skis” and it happens to companies that do find product market fit but mess things up by building an inappropriate cost structure (and capital base) and it all comes crashing down on them when they either can’t continue to raise money at ever increasing valuations and/or when they can’t grow into their cost structure quickly enough.

      The first failure mode comes with the territory. The world of startups is all about experimentation. Most experiments fail. If this happens to you, it sucks, but that is what you signed up for.

      The second failure mode is entirely avoidable and way more common than you might think.

      The capital markets are efficient over the very long run but highly inefficient in the moment. So just because investors are willing to throw gobs of money at you and your company, it doesn’t mean that it is smart to take it. And, as I have written numerous times here before, having lots of capital does not derisk your business plan. In many cases, it amplifies the risk of your business plan.

      So how do you stay in balance and avoid getting too far out over your skis?

      I like this framework that I call “Finance To Value” which means you finance your business to regular valuation targets that are driven by fundamental value analysis.

      The first thing you need to know is how your business will be valued by a buyer or the public markets when it is a scaled business. I like to use EBITDA and Revenue multiples for this work. And the best place to get them is from bankers who work in your sector and/or investors who are active in your sector. The key point is these multiples are what you are going to be valued at upon exit or IPO, not currently.

      Revenue multiples work better for this than EBITDA because very few companies have positive EBITDA during their growth phases.

      Here are some examples. Please don’t use these multiples without verifying them with someone who knows your industry and your business. These are simply examples:

      E-commerce business – 1 to 2 times revenues

      SAAS business – 6 to 8 times revenues

      Marketplace business – 4 to 6 times revenues (which can be less than 1x GMV depending on your take rate)

      Once you know this number for your business (and don’t be aspirational or agressive in determining it as that will just lead to problems), you can apply the Finance To Value framework.

      https://avc.com/2018/05/the-finance-to-value-framework/…

    37. Danny Jo on

      Joined as well https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373, but I am not expecting anything. One thing that I do want to understand, for future kickstarters, is their spending overview. How can you spend this amount of money and don’t see this coming? And why has the communication always been so positive, we are all big boys and can handle sunk costs, so rather would have known the truth.

    38. Missing avatar

      Jacob on

      Nice. Just take everyone's money - after reaching your stretch goals. Produce no units. Show off all the advertising money you're spending with no content updates for YEARS.
      Joined.... https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/

      One of the original backers for this POS.

    39. Missing avatar

      Paul Harlyn on

      Joined the class action. This is the response I got when I asked about the delay and possible refund in Nov. 2017, which was about the time the ran out of funds:
      OSSIC

      November 1, 2017

      Hi Paul!

      Thanks for your support and patience with this delay. With 5 Kickstarters under your belt you definitely are a veteran!

      Overall we're as frustrated with the delay as you are. While delays are not ideal, they are not necessary failure either as the extra time enables us to work toward delivering the best product we can without compromises or shortcuts. As an early backer, you deserve the product we promised.

      While gaming is a great use-case for 3D audio, it is actually only a piece of our current backer market. Many are audio producers, sound designers, game developers, and of course audiophiles. The future of music is a huge part of our vision, which is one of the reasons the engineers at Abbey Road have been working with us.

      Regarding the refund, OSSIC does not offer refunds for Kickstarter units at this time, as the funds have been pre-allocated for manufacturing and development of the units themselves. This is a large monetary investment that was allocated a month after the Kickstarter ended. If you have questions regarding your order feel free to email info@ossic.com.

      Overall we really appreciate all of your support so far. Are you located in San Diego? We would love to host you in our office to get a sneak peak for yourself if you are! I really think you'll be impressed. Especially as an audio engineer!

      Best,

      - Drew

    40. Missing avatar

      Michael Laforme
      Superbacker
      on

      just f U. unbelivable.