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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.

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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. Oliver Ma on

      Sorry OSSIC, this certainly isn't goodbye! You have spent over 2 years and millions of dollars on R&D. We deserve to know exactly what your research findings are. Even better, open source the code so that capable developers can improve on your technology. If you can't do that, the so-called R&D never happened.

    2. Campbell Downie on

      There is a very good point made here. We all could own the IP. If this was patented then we all have a share in that potentially... Or it could all just be lies ... Sadly I suspect the latter

    3. Clint Geaney on

      I’m never backing anything, on Crowd Funding again.

      I’ve backed Ossic X, FlyBi Drone, Pico Brew, Yoga Mat and many more.

      They’ve all just taken the money and paid themselves while they don’t have anything else to do.

      Pico Brew delivered the machine but made it to expensive to get the Brew packs.

      The rest just kept on making posts about progress and then close up shop.
      Fli Bi is still on Indiegogo raising money and they went broke? I’m joining the class action.

      I blame Kickstarter and Indiegogo because they do not have enough protections in place and I’m yet to see any evidence they verify the Campaign and the People behind it.

      Indiegogo won’t remove the Campaign even though all the contact details for the Camoaign are Fake.

      I proved that to them and then they tried to be more reasonable but only after I pointed out that they could not confirm, If My Money for the Campaign went to a Criminal Or Terrorist Organisation.

      They did not want to discuss that.

      It’s this simple.
      Start a Campaign, get some smock Pics and Logos done for a couple of hundred bucks write a few posts and keep promising things are going well.

      Two years later You’ve had a Fat Old time earning Good Money and stashed a tasty nest egg away.
      You can be sure Kickstarter and Indiegogo won’t come after You because their Business Model relies on them not having to do anything but skim off the top.

      Compliance costs money. In this case..... It was Us.

      Facebook knows this is a critical problem.
      They just deleted Half a Trillion Fake accounts.

      If You look at Products being sold on Facebook it’s the same problem.

      Comments are obviously being Filtered to stop bad press and Facebook has no Idea who’s behind the Product, or anything else to protect the Cusromer.

      It’s the beginning of the end, for Crowd Funding.

    4. William O'Meallain
      Superbacker
      on

      Kickstarter has really gone to sh*t in the past couple of years. Have lost over $1000 on hardware projects that the originators decided they "couldn't complete" after taking my money. No more. Joined the FB page.

    5. Campbell Downie on

      From New Zealand. Paid in us dollars so it's way more for us down here. I'm sorry this is a scam
      Very bad business management and loads of bull along the way. Joining class action for sure. If you want to be in business then you step up to the consequences.

    6. Bryan Hillard on

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/ joined. And also I want Kickstarter themselves to weigh in. As a platform that ALLOWED this clearly and obvious fraud to take place. They won’t answer my emails either.

    7. Missing avatar

      James Slattery on

      Requested to join the class action page. This is a damn shame.

    8. Missing avatar

      Jimmy Chung on

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

      Join the lawsuit, this isn’t fair for all of us who backed up this project.

    9. Missing avatar

      Sam Lawrence on

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

      Joined. Thoroughly pissed off; for two years I've been telling people who've questioned my investment that I wouldn't be scammed and lo and behold they were right all along.

    10. Khan Mohd. Erfan on

      Absolute nonsense. Give us the product or our money back.

    11. Missing avatar

      Robert James on

      It's been a long time coming but as I recollect, I also paid postage on my pledge, so it appears that the postage money has also gone the way of the marketing budgets!

    12. Chris D Carlson on

      I am backer 214, and I am seriously not going to get a GD thing?!?! I pray a class action goes through, because I am all about supporting it...

    13. John McGinley on

      I have joined the Facebook class action suit group Everybody needs to join. This can’t be the end. I want my money back or the headphones I was promised. https://m.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373

    14. Gus Bilotta on

      I have also participated: https://m.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373
      Let's pillage these guys.

    15. Missing avatar

      Tommy Duong on

      So can I get. Refund?

    16. Missing avatar

      Greg Trawinski on

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

      OSSIC owes us a full breakdown as to how the money was spent, especially as it pertains to salaries and expenses that were not directly related to the development and production of the headphones.

      This project had some mainstream coverage both during and after the Kickstarter campaign. Here's hoping OSSIC's failure gains even more exposure.

    17. Missing avatar

      Franklin
      Superbacker
      on

      After more than 2 years of delay, this is the result?! It just shows mismanagement and irresponsibility the way you communicate to us backers. https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373

    18. Phang Kian Wai on

      Since the project is shutting down, can all of us atleast have a chance to own the Intellectual Prop .. next time if someone will like to buy the technology, atleast we can get some money back ?

    19. Dale Myers on

      What an absolute crock of shit . We better be getting our money back you bunch of thieves. Just as bad as the morons behind skully

    20. Missing avatar

      Tim on

      For anyone interested, below is an email exchange with Ossic requesting a refund in 2016. Let that sink in. TWO THOUSAND AND SIXTEEN. REFUND REQUESTED... re-reading this has made my blood boil.

      ----------

      Hey guys, I must say I am extremely disappointed with the way the Ossic X was deceptively marketed. I have been an Ossic X backer from the beginning which was many months ago now. I have since then bought a HTC Vive to use with it.
      The reason I am so dissatisfied is that the way the original campaign was presented in the video, it made it seem like these units were already invented, and the funding was for improvements and distribution. Every time I receive an update email, I am severely infuriated to see only extremely minor updates, and to see that there are still many uncertainties in the design. The main nail in the coffin was the last update sent on Dec 17, in which it was made clear that production of the units had NOT EVEN BEGUN. I was absolutely disgusted to read that there have been ADDITIONAL delays which will further stall the production until JULY NEXT YEAR. This is completely and utterly unacceptable.
      I have held off on buying other headsets even though my current ones are broken, and enough is enough. I can't wait another six months for this incomplete product when there are options in the market right now. I feel deceived that the product was advertised so early when it was clearly nowhere near ready, and materials not sourced or tested.
      I would like to be refunded for this product on the grounds that the expected time delay to wait, which was not advertised, is extremely unreasonable.
      Regards
      Tim

      ----------

      Joshua James (OSSIC)
      Dec 23, 3:39 PM PST

      Hello Tim, thanks for reaching out. Your concerns are completely valid and I want to address each point.

      It's important to remember that the concept presented on kickstarter had all reward tiers mention 'Estimated Delivery'. This is to highlight the fact that is not an existing consumer product, but with the support of backers can become one. We required the kickstarter funding to start the production stage, and when the demand rose to 10,000 units we quickly realized that all of our production plans had to scale up exponentially. The materials you mentioned not being sourced or tested is due to the fact that they simply did not exist. Most of the internals of the headphone are completely custom and had to be designed and manufactured specifically for the X.

      The messaging of progress on the headphones is an attempt at transparency. To see the highs and lows of the production cycles gives backers a glimpse how these products are developed. If from those updates you are feeling infuriated by the lack of perceived progress, I can personally work to better that messaging because I write them all. It's feedback like this that helps promote the community to be the best it can be and without this kind of communication it's hard for us to gauge the backer sentiment.

      Your disappointment and concerns are valid based on the time it has taken for the headphones to hit your hands. You expected a certain date range and we have exceeded that range. However due to the fact that the estimated delivery was adjusted with full disclosure to the backers, and the reasons why that delay was initiated explained in full, we cannot offer a refund as the window for backers has been closed since two weeks after the end of the campaign. You can read the full language on that policy here : https://www.ossic.com/return-policy

      I know you will have concerns and more questions based on this, I'm happy to help answer any that I can !

      ------------

      After not accepting this answer, I replied again demanding a refund. This email, and all subsequent emails from me were ignored for the next 2 years, to this very day:

      ------------

      Dec 25, 2:00 AM PST

      Hey Joshua,
      Thanks for the reply. You have made some good points.

      However, the video gives demonstrations of people using the headphones, and reviewing their experience. It also lists the material used in the product, the aluminium headband for example. Both the kickstarter description, AND the video use present tense language instead of future tense, which implies that the headphones actually exist right now, not over an entire year away from being developed.
      It simply does not make sense that the product shown ready and functional in the video, with it's features being listed and demonstrated, could be over 14 months from being completed. Don't get me wrong, the headphones look great and I do like them, but the timeline was severely misrepresented.

      The terms you have linked me to are not even from kickstarter, but to your own Ossic website, which I have never seen, let alone agreed to. They are completely irrelevant. What I did agree to was to help fund the headphones to be received before an agreed date, which has now been exceeded, and further delayed by months beyond.
      [image3.jpeg]
      This is a breach which has ended my interest in this product. As it stands, on top of expecting me to wait an additional 6 months, you have been holding onto my money for over 8 months already. The item has still not even been developed, let alone shipped out to me. Due to this fact, I am, by law, entitled to a refund. Refusing to refund me for an incomplete product that has still not been shipped is not only extremely unprofessional, deceptive, and unacceptable, it is by definition, also illegal.

      If the delivery schedule complied with what was actually listed on the kickstarter campaign, I would have no problems. As you can see below the estimated delivery is January, which is reasonable. Over half a year being added to this is not. It is utterly ridiculous to expect your customers not to mind.

      * Pledged: $289.00Collected
      * Reward:

      KICKSTARTER SPECIAL: SAVE $150
      You’ll receive one OSSIC X headphone. You’re one of the first onboard the audio revolution!

      * Pledged on: Apr 12 2016
      * Funded: Apr 21 2016
      * Estimated delivery Jan 2017
      * Shipping to: Australia ($40)

      If you do not agree to refund me, I will be forced to contact consumer affairs and/or take legal action to retrieve my money.

      Tim

    21. Anthony D Jones on

      Add me to this the class action suit. I waited over 2 years patiently to get a big sorry. I don't think so.

    22. Anthony D Jones on

      Add me the class action suit. I waited over 2 years patiently to get a big sorry. I don't think so.

    23. Karen
      Superbacker
      on

      This was incredibly disappointing.
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373

    24. Timmy Nguyen on

      Complete waste of time and money. Never backing another project unless it has reached production stage. https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/

    25. Missing avatar

      Darren Aboulafia on

      Extremely disappointed doesn't even begin to touch the level of angar we all share about this situation. It would be one thing if we had only ponied up $25 or $50 but these are expensive headphones. Perhaps the only reason I dropped as much $ as I did was because of the apparent credibility they garnered from big corporate names and studios. I don't ever put that on the table for something I won't likely see for a long period of time. Extremely angry and frustrated by the total lack of commitment.

      I have also joined the lawsuit through Facebook.

    26. Robert Dyet on

      I am backer 346 so while not an early early backer I am one of 10k backers.

      If people paid thru visa or mastercard do they have grounds to make a claim?

    27. Ian manson on

      I agree with many others here - the lack of communication about this has been really poor. If you are broke, then you owe it to your investors to demonstrate where the money was spent. Why are you broke? Are you declaring bankruptcy? Will a liquidator be appointed to ensure investors are given appropriate recompense? If you aren't going bankrupt then why aren't we getting the product or a refund?
      You can't just not deliver a product and not provide this sort of information.
      Very unhappy

    28. Robert Dyet on

      I am backer 346 so while not an early early backer I am one of 10k backers.

      If people paid thru visa or mastercard do they have grounds to make a claim?

    29. Imran Shamsul on

      "Be respectful and considerate." Ossic you can do that by issuing refunds.

    30. Missing avatar

      Tsai, Yu-Chen on

      I’ve joined the Ossic lawsuit Facebook group. Very unhappy about this scam. https://m.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373

    31. Gerald on

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

      Joined. Trusted and never complained about delays. However, what has happened is that we have been wrongfully misled. No indication of financial issues prior.

    32. Missing avatar

      Derrick Buckley on

      Thanks for the update. I presume you will be issuing refunds to all the backers?

    33. Missing avatar

      Dan on

      So half of us could have chipped in another $200 and we get our headphones? Do we at least get the intellectual property since the company is shutting down so we as a community have the opportunity to build it ourselves, or at least open source the IP? As communications go, this post is quite suspect as you gave 0 indication of any financial issues for the last 6 months even though people werent getting paid? And the original ask in Kickstarter I believe was $100k?

    34. Robert Dyet on

      I am very disappointed to read this, you really had us hooked with the hype that you were in with Abbey Road Studios, and flying all over selling the brand and to what end? Locking the doors, shredding the paper name OSSIC an desolving in the mist with no consequences. You made a fool out of us all, yes kickstarters is risky ventures and its not a garuntee everything pledged will happen. How many completed units are stacked but not shipped? I'm sure creditors will get their blood from you's but the real pledges are shafted yet again. You ruined the hopes of many to finally bridge that gap we all wanted from sound. Sad day.

    35. Missing avatar

      Drew Johnson on

      You write this as if you're JUST unable to deliver a product. But nothing about the possibility of us getting our money back. That's all we care about at this point and it's the one thing you completely ignore. $250 is not pocket change to someone like me. I will never buy or crowd fund a product from Ossic again, and they shouldn't even try to come out with anything else at this point. Join https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373

    36. Kenny Roy on

      Can someone who received a developer kit please let us know you received it? Just one will do. There is a clear case of fraud here, which would be even more open-and-shut if we show that even these late-stage comments are false.

    37. Evan Raynor on

      "Oh yeah sorry, we're taking your couple of hundred dollars, bye bye, promise we're sorry. Really."

      Yeahhhhnah. I'll be seeing that money again thanks.

    38. Rachael Hosein on

      I'm super disappointed that this isn't shipping out. I backed the Sphericam that had similar issues with fulfilling their kickstarter units and they handled things much more gracefully by foreseeing the issues and offering a refund to all backers.

      Unfortunately, I've also joined https://m.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373.

    39. Missing avatar

      Tate Steve Pryor on

      The lack of communication is appalling. Investments are one thing, but investers outside of kickstarter would receive more warning than this guarenteed. Join the FB group here:
      https://m.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373

    40. Missing avatar

      xdrfiredogx on

      Jan: Life is good! We shipped dev units!
      Feb: Life is good! We are updating software!
      March: ...
      April: ...
      May: Naw, we just kidding... We are broke and shutting down. Sorry you lost money...peace!

      Yeah, life doesn't work quite that way. Those of us that invested will never get that money back. Making life hard on you for wasting it and never even letting us know there were issues? That's something we can all agree needs to happen.

    41. Lauren Pollock on

      This is ridiculous, i've also joined the class action lawsuit, i am shocked and disgusted by the most recent email
      https://m.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373

    42. Missing avatar

      William McQueen on

      Total fucking bullshit!!
      We’ve all been scammed!! If these were portrayed to work so amazingly awesome at CES and other electronics shows then why the fuck weren’t they in production!
      If there’s a class action, I’m in!!
      Pissed away $300 and for what? I’m sorry just doesn’t cut it. I thought I was helping a viable company make a cutting edge product and got screwed over.
      If you’re not pissed then send me my reimbursement. Fuck all these scammers!!!!