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article imageWearable maker Jawbone insolvent, two years after $3bn valuation

By James Walker     Jul 7, 2017 in Technology
Jawbone has announced it's shutting down and liquidating its assets. The 18-year-old technology company, best known in recent years for its work in the wearables market, was once worth $3 billion. It's one of the biggest tech firms ever to collapse.
The news was reported today by The Information. The decision is expected to lead to losses for the investors who have ploughed millions of dollars into Jawbone over the past few years. The Financial Times said that several of Silicon Valley's most respected venture capitalists will be impacted by the fallout of the shutdown.
Jawbone was founded as Aliph in 1999, gaining a name for itself in Bluetooth accessories and wireless speakers. Under the Jawbone brand, the company was an early participant in the wearables market. Its UP wristbands have seen success but have also faced stiff competition, primarily from Fitbit.
At its height in 2015, Jawbone was valued at $3.3 billion. Business Insider reports the company believes it's still worth a "significant" amount of money today. Jawbone is in ongoing litigation with Fitbit that could generate some revenue if resolved. The company began insolvency proceedings last month after running out of operating cash.
Jawbone stopped producing and selling its own devices last year. The entire stock was sold at a reduced price to a third-party reseller in an attempt to obtain some revenue. Since then, Jawbone has tried to pivot towards clinical-grade devices. This effort has failed as the company’s products aren't working as intended.
Jawbone's shutdown will send shockwaves through Silicon Valley but particularly the wearables market. The company's rapid descent from its $3 billion valuation to insolvency could alarm other established wearable makers.
Jawbone's main rival, Fitbit, is itself struggling to make money and attract consumer interest. The company's stock is currently trading at a one-year low. In after-hours trading, Fitbit continued to fall by almost 2 percent as the news of Jawbone's shut down broke.
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Fitbit recently lost its title as the largest wearables brand to Apple. While Jawbone's shut down removes one of Fitbit's key competitors, the company is now more concerned with fending off the increasingly fitness-focused Apple Watch. Fitbit's being left with a narrowing audience as most consumers interested in fitness bands now already own one.
Although Jawbone is now gone, its name will live on. Company founder Hosain Rahman is working on a new start-up called Jawbone Health. It's expected to continue the focus on medical services that Jawbone has experimented with in the past few months. Jawbone Health's software platform will be fully compatible with current Jawbone devices, so existing wearables will continue to work.
More about Jawbone, Fitbit, wearables, Devices, fitness trackers
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