Things aren't looking great for Pebble, despite its record-breaking Kickstarter campaign for Pebble Time. John Biggs at TechCrunch:
Smartwatch maker Pebble seems to be in some trouble. According to sources close to the company, the company is having trouble maintaining its growth and has turned to a Silicon Valley bank for a $5 million loan and $5 million line of credit. Valley VCs have been turning down the company’s requests for new capital.
It's kind of crazy that after raising upwards of $20 million during its crowdfunding project for Pebble Time that the company is shopping around for venture capital cash. There's also some apparent discontent within Pebble about the direction the company is taking in light of the Apple Watch launch and Android Wear's continued growth.
Pebble's business is clearly being squeezed from all angles — Apple Watch taking the iOS users, Android Wear taking those who rely on Google-powered products, Fitbit and Jawbone providing the wearables of choice for those who just want a fitness product (as much as Pebble might want to get into that game), and new indie entrants like the Olio watch getting some attention too. I previously wrote about Pebble sticking to what it is good at in providing the go-to budget smartwatch:
Pebble has seemingly carved out a little niche for itself, one it is continuing to service with the newly-Kickstarted Pebble Time, and I think that's the best space for the company.
It can't compete with super-functional, exquisitely designed wearables from Apple and Android OEMs so it's best not to try. Instead, take pride in what your product is good at — being available for a low price and lasting a whole week long.
Despite there being a strong community built around Pebble, it's unclear if that will be enough to sustain the company's 150-strong team of employees and future product development.
I'd hate to see Pebble go under as it really kickstarted (no pun intended) the current smartwatch market. However, it seems like it desperately needs some money in order to stay afloat.