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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. Mario Stief on

      They asked for no more than 100.000 $ to fund this project and ship it in Jan 2017. They raised proud $ 5.932.913 ($ 2,708,472 on Kickstarter and $ 3,224,441 on Indiegogo). That is nearly 60 times the amount they've been asking for. In Feb 2018 they admitted debts in the amount of $ 3.506.254 which sums up to $ 9.439.167. Still they kept adding stuff like in update 57 where they wrote: "Our initial head-tracker component was upgraded mid-development to further reduce latency" and "Mobile support necessitated a fundamental architecture change for the OSSIC X, requiring some additional development time ". Now in May 2018 they are broke, telling us they'd need at least another 2.000.000 $ more. This is one heck of a failed management...

    2. Missing avatar

      Ernie winfield on

      Can’t say I’m not disappointed, why the lies towards the end of the project. You knew you were never gonna ship in 2017
      Not even sure why I’m writing this as it makes no difference to the fact we’ve all lost our money. It was a risk we all took and should all have understood
      Hope you enjoyed the jollys
      Not sure you’ll even be bothered ready these comments but if you have a shred of self respect then please hand over any rights you have to the intellectual property or patents to the backers

    3. Daniel Storm Anderson on

      Wow, not something I wanted to wake up to. Being as I either continue on with my life, or I join the movement to get what we paid for. No doubt, I'm also joining the class action FB group.

    4. Demithyle the Exalted on

      @David - there was one dev unit backer on head fi forums reporting noise issues with his cans. He mentioned 4 threads going on the closed Dev forums, so allegedly there were more units out in the open.
      The ossic Twitter account retweeted two posts from people getting their Dev units, lastly we had one (or two, don't remember for sure) Dev units appear on eBay around the time they were shipped out.

    5. David O'Connor on

      The fact that this project failed is obviously disappointing but the main issue for many of us is the lack of transparency and accountability.
      I still have yet to hear from even ONE developer backer who reportedly received their headphones. Surely if they were shipped, we would've heard from at least one of them.
      This lack of transparency appears to be in conflict with the Kickstarter terms.
      I've joined the Facebook page about further action primarily to see how things unfold and whether Ossic release a transparent report according to Kickstarter and other legally abiding terms and laws.
      https://m.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373

    6. Missing avatar

      Stefan Huber on

      Very sad to hear this. But as other already have asked, what will happen to the development results? I was very excited in the outcome of your Abby roads visits. Will backers get access or will you open source the results? Would just be fair to everyone who invested and intellectual property should not just be wasted.

    7. Baurez Jean-Paul on

      Ahahah ! Even this last update is full of bullshits. If I do remember correctly, some numbers gathered on the Startengine page shows that they spent twice more money in PR and tech shows than in R&D.
      Jason Riggs visiting Abbey Road studio with the whole team !
      You would see that the money was going to run out maybe 6 months ago, not yesterday. But they keep dropping some updates and delays in production and shipping, keeping us in believing that the product was properly developed.
      The stretch goal on mobile compatibility is their choice not us, they fuckep up but they did say in the campaign that they are able to resolve any issues they might face and they are very well connected to obtain the right materials and hardware in order to make this campaign and the delivery of the headphones successful.
      They are giving us even more to reason the be mad at them ^^

      Jason Riggs and Joyce Lyons don’t even have the balls to send themselves a mail or the update.
      Jason Riggs delete is account on LinkedIn and Joyce should do the same soon.
      Well, the all team can be seen on the campaign page.

    8. Demithyle the Exalted on

      @Paul Vinni - yes and no - the rules say they have to demonstrate how the money was spent and show they've made enough effort to get the project to materialise - neither has happened here. There's no breakdown of costs, no list of companies they approached, just vague statements and moaning about how mobile phone integration made the project even more expensive to deliver. Remind me again who decides which stretch goals to put forward during a KS campaign - the backers or the creator?
      They all claimed to be experienced in the field so it would have been as easy as 'we hear you guys, but mobile phone integration will skyrocket the development cost and we'd rather focus on delivering the product first'.

      Secondly, putting the blame on other startups failing - aside from Pebble, was there a high profile failure recently? If there was, I haven't heard of it and I find it really hard to believe Facebook which bought Oculus, wouldn't be tempted to double dip into the vr experience by offering the headphones to its existing user base.

    9. Greg Peden on

      @Jess Pate, Early investors and directors can be found personally responsible in the case of fraud or criminal negligence. I think it's pretty clear that Jason Riggs mislead everybody about the financials in order to collect more investment and pre-orders. He may have to spend the rest of his life working off a court judgment against him. It happens. He and others with knowledge of the financials almost certainly collected a salary off of this money, they may have to surrender it back in a settlement.

      Additionally Kickstarter took a portion of the funds, they may have to give it up. Kickstarter will likely be named as a defendant in a legal case because they are the bigger fish and still retain profits from this.

    10. Pao Dordi on

      Wtf! I am extremely disappointed. But not surprised, after the lack of news. No, my friend, you can’t say after 2 years: “sorry we can’t do that, we finished the money” like “uh sorry, I can’t play tennis tomorrow. Join the class action!!!
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/932229213618373/

    11. Pao Dordi on

      Wtf! I am extremely disappointed. But not surprised, after the lack of news. No, my friend, you can’t say after 2 years: “sorry we can’t do that, we finished the money” like “uh sorry, I can’t play tennis tomorrow. Join the class action!!!

    12. Jess Pate on

      Guys, I'm angry, too, but if they're really out of money, how do you think a Class Action is going to go? Can't really take what isn't there.

      I don't expect a refund, cause they say they're out of money. I doubt a Class Action would ever see the light of day, and even if it does, any recompense would be minimal at best. All I want from them now is a detailed list of how the money was all spent, because a lot of people had to pay for shipping when they pledged, so that money's just in the wind now.

    13. Bernard Cooper
      Superbacker
      on

      Wow. I was hoping that email was a very late (and very bad taste) April Fool's.
      It wasn't.

      Sadly I've been scammed by a number of tech kickstarters before, but not for this much. Ive had another couple pivot or get bought out by a competitor and refund their backers. Some even failed but still managed to do right by their backers (e.g. Pebble refunded backers after closing down / selling the IP to Fitbit). The writing must have been on the wall for OSSIC many months ago now if they burnt through *all* the crowdfunding and venture capital. Surely if the tech is as amazing as we have all been led to believe then some sort of merger or partnership with another company would have happened.

      A failure of this magnitude will surely hit the media and it is going to hurt crowdfunding bad. This could have been the audio version of Occulus for the Kickstarter brand but now it joins the ever increasing ranks of the Crowdfunding Hall of Shame (Is this a thing? If not, it needs to be)

      Tech kickstarters need to be banned from crowdfunding sites unless the company behind the site accepts more responsibility for administering them and offers protection to the backers.

    14. Pauli Vinni on

      Well KS is allways a camble. Newer use more money than what you Are willing to lose.
      I have backed 16 project where 3 has gone wrong.
      When people back up there is always the posibility that something goes wrong. The rules only say that kickstarter company try to complete the project. If They run out of money, They can not complete the project. So in this case the company has fullfilled the rules.
      Pity that these things happens, but things just happens.

    15. Leon Postma on

      Well, learned my lesson. Too lazy to ask for a refund when my gut feeling said this was fishy from the first updates onward. I’ll still be backing projects but will research more if it exceeds my financial threshold. People, Don’t invest if you can’t handle the sunk cost if things go awry. Life is about taking risks, and about trusting people. Sure you get stung sometimes but id rather live with a few disappointments than in perpetual distrust of ambitious people and exciting projects. The Audeze Mobius was a no brainer as they are without a doubt a reputable company. Signed up for FB class action page to see how this all pans out, just to haunt that fucker. I doubt will see any money or some kind of gesture from KS. If i knew that Jason lived in Vegas i would have tracked him down last year just to say hi i think you scammed us all, dude. Have a nice day y’all

    16. Conrad Yonosenada
      Superbacker
      on

      On the other hand, I've been cured of my Kickstarter addiction....

    17. Carlo Mogavero on

      Yeah... obviously disappointed by this.

      It’d be interesting to see a class action suit get off the ground. Although I don’t have a lot of faith in that either as they can take a *long* time and the benefiting “class” gets only a small fraction of the original claim.

      So, just going to assume my $270 is gone.

      The best thing we can do is ensure that can’t scam anyone else in the future.

    18. Marsha Tyszler
      Superbacker
      on

      @Clint Geany, please sent me a pm here on Kickstarter or @MashaT22 on Twitter — or look me up on Facebook and message me. I was also a FlyBi backer on IGG (and gave a few bucks on LS) who is also irate that the company seems to have vanished without even posting an update m. I’d love to chat more with you and see if we can rally other backers to look into options to get our money back. Most backers dropped quite a chunk of change.

    19. Roger Bentley on

      i honestly believe not even the early backers got anything because wouldn't at least one of them have a you tube doing a demo of the early unit?? i will never back kickstarter again

    20. Geoff Bird on

      Does jriggs the supposed ceo have any successful ventures?

    21. Geoff Bird on

      I am extremely pissed off. After reading every update with anticipation and seeing some people get product it is very disappointing you have essentially stollen my funds. And it necessarily that the money was the issue, but the expectation was high.

      I wonder if there ever was a product or any intellectual property? I had heard about crowdfunding scams before but it’s the first time I have been stung.

      I guess it will be a great opportunity for those on the inside to take what they have discovered and make their fortunes - at our expense. Were there any patents taken out along the way? Perhaps those should now be owned by the investors.

      I also find it interesting that financial woes were never mentioned - until the very end.

    22. Campbell Downie on

      BTW if you want to see who makes up this fiasco go here https://www.startengine.com/ossic they took 100k 3 months ago !!!!

    23. 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.

    24. 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

    25. 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.

    26. 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.

    27. 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.

    28. 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.

    29. Missing avatar

      James Slattery on

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

    30. 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.

    31. 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.

    32. Khan Mohd. Erfan on

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

    33. 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!