I had a really good talk with the Chief Information Officer at Jolla last year. Stefano Mosconi was an open and honest guy and the handsets that the company produce are really rather impressive. It’s an approach and attitude which seems to run through the entire company during all my subsequent interviews.
However, today brings some rather bad news for the company. They freely admit that they’re tumbling into a “death valley” and are facing a “great challenge”. Reading through the lines of their statement (below) it seems that they’ve burned a lot of cash on developing the Sailfish OS and now need to lay off a large part of their staff (which, by the sounds of it, are developers) so that the company can continue.
Although they call this cut in staff a “temporary” measure, the press release is, as I’ve grown to expect from speaking to Jolla on many occasions, brutally honest. Antti Saarnio, Chairman and Co-founder of Jolla tells us…
Sailfish OS is in great shape currently and it is commercially ready. Unfortunately the development until this point has required quite a lot of time and money. To get out of this death valley we need to move from a development phase into a growth phase. At the same time we need to adapt our cost levels to the new situation. One of the main actions is to tailor the operating system to fit the needs of different clients. We have several major and smaller potential clients who are interested in using Sailfish OS in their projects.
Their financing round has been put on hold and they’re instead filing for a debt restructuring programme. It’s hoped that this will secure the future of the company along with the cut in staff numbers. Those losing their jobs will be notified almost immediately, as lay offs begin in December.
Jolla’s financing round delayed – files for debt restructuring
Helsinki, Finland, November 20, 2015 – – Jolla Ltd, the mobile company from Finland today announced that its latest financing round which aimed to end in November, has been postponed and the company needs to adjust its operations accordingly. At the same time the company has filed for a debt restructuring program in Finland, to ensure the continuity of its business. Jolla will also temporarily lay off a big part of its personnel.
The mobile company Jolla Ltd. was founded four years ago with a vision to change the mobile world. This journey, cited by many to be ‘an impossible task’, has featured many ups and downs including developing Sailfish OS, an own mobile operating system, launching internationally two mobile devices, and raising 50M USD to finance the operation.
Last autumn, Sailfish OS reached commercial maturity and now the company is ready to license it to commercial partners. Sailfish OS has a lot to offer to its customers: for device manufacturers it offers an independent platform to build truly differentiated consumer offerings; and for security companies, the platform offers an ability to build secure solutions. Jolla’s aim is to offer Sailfish OS to different partners who want a tailored operating system to support their own businesses.
Antti Saarnio, Chairman and Co-founder of Jolla comments: “Typically for start-ups Jolla has gone through several death valleys along its four year journey. We’ve fought them through and now we are facing again a great challenge. Our operating system Sailfish OS is in great shape currently and it is commercially ready. Unfortunately the development until this point has required quite a lot of time and money. To get out of this death valley we need to move from a development phase into a growth phase. At the same time we need to adapt our cost levels to the new situation. One of the main actions is to tailor the operating system to fit the needs of different clients. We have several major and smaller potential clients who are interested in using Sailfish OS in their projects.”
Jolla has today filed for the debt restructuring program in Helsinki. With this the company aims secure the future of its business and to get more time to arrange the future financing of the company.
Antti Saarnio continues: ”In Finland we have very good laws for corporate restructuring. These enable the continuation of businesses through debt restructuring, which gives a company more time to take care of its financial liabilities. I believe that through this program Jolla can turn its business to be profitable in the future. Sailfish OS is a very valuable asset and worth fighting for.”
The temporary lay offs of Jolla’s personnel will start during December.