I was very excited when I first learned about the Skully helmet! I remember getting an e-mail from friend of mine with a link to the Skully promo video when they first started raising money with their crowdfunding campaign. I was so tempted to donate, but at the time I was not sure if it had Canadian maps and metric distances, but despite this I was planning to pre-order one of the helmets, boy I’m really glad I didn’t now.
First a bit a background. Skully helmets offered a built in 180 degree Camera, Head Up Display (HUD) features such as GPS, and a built in phone, it’s like all the features in a high end car right there in your helmet. Check out their promo video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_xbS63SHjk .
It seems like there is not a lot of really new technology in motorcycle equipment, so when Skully came on the scene it was something that got my attention right away. Now that I spend more of my time riding in traffic and busy roads, as opposed the mountains and deserts of South America I could really see the benefits a Skully helmet had to offer. It would also help keep riders safe and I’m sure the technology would have only gotten better as newer models were produced and the technology was improved.
But Skully blew it, big time. After producing demo helmets, getting great reviews and creating a buzz, they raised over $2.5 million dollars through crowdfunding campaigns and pre-orders, the founders spent the money on Lamborghini rentals and strippers, the company is now no more and neither is the helmet. A real disappointment. Here was a chance to produce something new and exciting and change motorcycle safety and rider experience and it’s gone because of frivolous spending. As a motorcyclist I’m disappointed that our sport suffered.
As an accountant I’m disappointed. Where were the internal controls over spending? Where they not accountable to anyone for the crowdfunding money they raised? These guys employed people and had a chance to make a difference, greed got in the way. It seems it was the accountants who might have brought this crazy spending to light – see the fortune article http://fortune.com/2016/08/14/fraud-allegations-hud-skully/
I’m sure that now that the HUD motorcycle helmet has been produced, it won’t be long before another company picks up the technology and produces another similar product. I’m not sure the crowdfunding market will be very welcoming though, so it might have to be a large corporation with the available funds, so much for start-ups.