Merry Christmas everyone. It's been an insane last few months for me personally and professionally, and I've just not been able to post anything. I'm aiming to change that starting next month, but for now here's a short post on uBeam (now Sonic Energy, not at all trying to clean up their terrible Google search history...)
A press release on the company website now lists Will Kain, formerly uBeam board member and Acting CFO, is now the Acting CEO. Previous CEO, Simon McElrea, didn't quite make it to his one year anniversary and has departed for reasons unknown, but to leave without an actual CEO in place always causes a raised eyebrow.
From the release:
Will Kain, Board Member and Acting CEO, has announced that uBeam Inc. is officially changing its name to SonicEnergy™, effective immediately. The new name is being implemented across the company and should be completed by year’s end.
Kain explains that the new name better reflects the evolving focus of the company, adding “This is an exciting time with the exploding IoT market and resulting opportunity for wireless power. This name change reflects both the evolution of the company as well as its vision for the future focused on IoT, and our expanded B2B partnerships.” He continues “As a company with its roots in ultrasonic technology, we have been planning this name change along with other strategy changes for some time. With our upcoming participation at CES in Las Vegas in January, this is the perfect time to refine our image with a new, more relevant name.”
Along with this name change, a newly redesigned company logo has been revealed and a new website at www.sonicenergy.com prominently features the company’s focus on their newly-developed 2.0 technology platform and the dynamic team behind it. The company’s ownership and staff have not changed as a result of this name change.
"expanded B2B partnerships"? I'd like to know if they even have a single one.
"staff have not changed"? Hard to change the staff when 50% were laid off in June and several have left since. Try going through the page on LinkedIn for staff at uBeam, it's several pages before you find more than one or two not "formerly uBeam", and even then I know some of them have left. The technical team left, IMO, is just enough to keep the smoke machine going.
So a CEO who replaced an Acting CEO who replaced a cofounder/CEO who may have been pushed instead of jumped, is now being replaced in less than a year by another Acting CEO who is a money and not tech guy, just as they are doing a massive down round raise. Hmmmm, really not a good look there.
That it's a finance guy really does point to the tech side being sidelined and that it's now an operation just to sell this thing to a greater fool, IMO. My opinion is that greater fool is unlikely to be a company with deep pockets and any sense, there's just nothing there - no useful hardware and the IP portfolio is not strong - and so I'd expect them to go to the "greater fool of last resort", the general public. I'm expecting to see them attempt to IPO and pull an Energous (I'm hearing Ossia is trying similar), and a CFO type is exactly who you'd want for that role. If it's not that, then the other explanation is "Downround failed, CEO exits, CFO steps up to liquidate the company".
That's it, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.