Whilst we often bring you stories about virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) companies and products that have acquired a ludicrous amount of money in investment thanks to their latest Class [insert letter here] funding, or that have taken the crowdfunding websites of Kickstarter and Indiegogo by storm that doesn’t mean trying to raise capital for either is going to be a slam dunk and throughout the year we’ve brought you tales not just of successes but of failures and attempts at redemption. Today we have another attempt at the later with a name that you may well recall: Panono.
We’ve not spoken on VRFocus about the Berlin-based start-up for some considerable time. In fact the last occasion we did was in connection to the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality expo, better known as SVVR, from 2016. One of the reason’s we’ve not heard much about them in recent months is that the company collapsed under its own weight, declaring bankruptcy in April this year. Panono GmbH (not to be confused with Panopto) ceased to be and the backers of what was then Europe’s biggest crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, some 2000 people, were left in the lurch. Money paid. No product on the horizon.
But that was not the end of the story.
Professional360 GmbH have now taken up the reins, after having acquired all Panono GmbH’s patents and assets were acquired by a Swiss-based private equity investor called Bryanston Group AG. Now, under the new holding group, those who missed out on both the product or a refund are being given a second opportunity as the new owners try to ‘do right’ by the original investors in a situation similar to that seen earlier this year with the Skully AR motorcycle helmet, which VRFocus reported on back in September.
Professional360 have approaching the 2000 to offer the chance to purchase the final product at (manufacturing) cost and offering unlimited use of the 360 degree camera’s cloud-based services. Worth an additional $600 (USD). There are limits to the offer, being strictly one camera per supporter and the company will only supply fifty cameras per month – so if you’re a bit slow on the get go in accepting the offer investors long waits might well be even longer.
“After stabilizing the company, we are now in a position to supply Panono’s early supporters with the product at production cost. We think this is a fair offer, as we do not earn any margin on the camera and they would still be paying – in total – significantly less than any of our regular customers.” Explained a spokesman of the company via a press release. “We are glad to finally end the Indiegogo supporters’ years of waiting and uncertainty. We are closing a chapter in Panono’s history and look forward to what lies ahead.”
The move has been met with initial approval by investors, according to Panono’s Head of Support Maxim Schwarz. “The initial response by Indiegogo supporters was very encouraging. We are very happy about the replies we got so far. Most of them are very positive, people are quite excited that they can finally get their cameras and we have had more than 50 orders within the first hour after our mailing. We have convinced our investors to make an exception to the initial monthly limitation and ship more in December. We are working hard now to ship the cameras the same day the order is received to hopefully have all cameras delivered before Christmas.”
VRFocus will be following the situation and will be bringing you updates as we get them.