Tag: startups

By on April 30, 2019

Faraday Future FF 91 rear

Faraday Future, the contentious automotive startup that always seems to find (and then lose) sizable amounts of cash, has announced it has once again managed to secure new funding. According to its press release, Faraday says will receive $225 million in bridge financing via a funding round led by Birch Lake Associates.

While the bulk of the cash will go towards paying off vendors, some of which have filed lawsuits, around 40 percent will be left over to help get the FF91 to market and prove the company can actually build a car. The strategy seems risky, but it may be Faraday’s best bet at this point.  (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2019

With Faraday Future and Evergrande Health having officially settled their bitter legal dispute late last year, the once-again independent automaker could finally get back to hunting for new investors. Despite Faraday’s entire existence being overshadowed by financial missteps and bizarre business dealings (resulting in an inability to deliver product), it’s extremely good at scrounging up funds. Breaking ties with its primary financial partner might have seemed like bad news, especially after so many near-death experiences, but this is where the company shines the brightest.

On Sunday, Faraday Future signed into a 50-50 partnership with Shanghai-based internet gaming operator The9 — which amassed its fortune after gaining exclusive licensing rights to operate and distribute the extremely popular World of Warcraft in China. Faraday said the deal marks the first step in its plan to officially launch its dual-home-market strategy in both China and the United States.  (Read More…)

By on January 2, 2019

ff91

Faraday Future, the Chino-American EV developer that’s always in dutch, said Monday it has established and signed a new restructuring agreement with its main investor, Evergrande Health Industry Group Ltd. The deal concludes a rather ugly legal dispute between the two — one which placed Faraday’s intellectual property and finances in serious jeopardy.

Following the departure of co-founder Nick Sampson in November, the automaker found itself seeking new financing opportunities. Evergrande, which purchased a majority take in the EV firm via its summer acquisition of Season Smart, attempted to block new investments while Faraday accused the company of attempting a forcible takeover of the automaker by withholding funds earmarked for outstanding debts. Those funds were essential in helping it reach agreed-upon production targets.  (Read More…)

By on September 21, 2018

Earlier this year, Elio Motors said it would launch its own cryptocurrency as a way of funding its troubled three-wheeler. During the initial ElioCoin announcement in April, Elio also said it partnered with Overstock.com to relieve some of its debt. The website claimed it purchased $2.5 million of the startup’s newly issued shares.

As helpful as a few million dollars would be toward progressing Elio’s goals, the cryptocurrency plan seemed patently ridiculous. We didn’t expect to hear much more about it.

Color us surprised, though. Elio has now formally launched the pre-sale of the ElioCoin Security Token, noting that Patrick M. Byrne — Overstock.com’s founder and CEO — will be the first person to open up his wallet to participate in this strange new offer.  (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2018

After showcasing its first concept vehicle at CES 2018, electric car startup Byton has come back with another for CES Asia. On Monday, the company also announced it had recently raised more than half a billion dollars in capital.

Byton looks to be on the right path, but the trail it’s marching down has already been taken by other EV startups and resulted in failure. For example, Faraday Future drove itself into a brick wall after failing to deliver on its promises for two years straight. It suffered development delays on its prototype, engaged in some sketchy deals, and practically collapsed when its main Chinese backer ran out of money. That isn’t to presume Byton is the same kind of company, but it’s offering the same type of car under vaguely similar circumstances.

Loaded with tech, Byton’s autonomous, all-electric K-Byte sedan and its SUV sibling (the M-Byte) are right in line with every manufacturers’ future vehicle concepts. They’re perpetually connected to the web, capable of self-driving, and chock full of touchscreens. But they aren’t real cars yet, even though the startup suggests they’ll be available for just $45,000 — and relatively soon. The SUV will apparently go into production in 2019, with the sedan following by 2021. (Read More…)

By on January 2, 2018

LeSee LeEco Jia Yueting

Founder of the debt-laden technology firm LeEco has shirked orders from Chinese authorities to return to the country before the end of 2017, saying he needed to stay within the United States to fundraise for Faraday Future. Last week, the Beijing branch of the China Securities Regulatory Commission issued a notice ordering Jia Yueting to return to China to face the staggering debt attached to his various businesses and protect investors’ rights.

However, he claims he’s making too much headway with efforts to keep electric vehicle startup Faraday Future from sinking deeper into the toilet to head back to China. Instead, he has requested that his brother, Jia Yuemin, meet the regulator face-to-face last Friday to provide a report in response to the notice.  (Read More…)

By on August 10, 2017

elio-otc-chart

The past year hasn’t been particularly kind to Elio Motors, the startup trying to launch an economical enclosed-tandem, front-wheel drive three-wheeler. The company seems to be no closer to starting production and in fact has shuttered most of their operations, including assembly of their production-validation prototypes, and laid off most of their staff, to concentrate on raising the money they need to start building trikes.

For a while Elio was flying high. They had over 60,000 reservations and a Reg A+ stock offering raised $16 million. That stock quadrupled in price and briefly gave the company a billion-dollar valuation. Then, starting late in 2016, a pattern started forming. Some kind of bad news for Elio would appear on folks’ screens, either another production delay, a SEC filing with ominous-sounding boilerplate, or local politicians in Louisiana, where Elio promised to start building vehicles in what was formerly a GM assembly plant in Shreveport, would start complaining about a lack of progress. The bad news would get amplified by Elio’s critics, and their over-the-counter stock price would take a hit. A year ago the OTC shares were pretty stable at around $20/share. Down from the high of $60, but still significantly above the initial offering price of $14/share. By the end of 2016, however, it had dropped to about $15/share and since then it’s had a series of drops to about $8, then $7 and most recently about $5/share. Elio seemed headed for penny-stock status, or worse.

(Read More…)

By on July 12, 2017

ff_91_exterior_8

Faraday Future, the American electric vehicle startup backed by LeEco founder Jia Yueting, has abandoned plans to construct its now infamous $1 billion factory in Nevada due to severe financial woes. It’s another nail in Faraday’s coffin as the firm was claiming it would resume construction of the plant less than six months ago.

Work at the North Las Vegas site stalled in 2016 after repeated nonpayment to the construction firm and numerous suppliers.

It’s become a bit of a running gag, as Jia has begun pleading with literally anyone who will listen to give his automotive endeavors more time to pay up. Last week on Weibo, China’s biggest social-media site, Jia publicly promised to repay his debts as he committed himself his electric car businesses. He then resigned as chairman.

“Please give LeEco some time, please give LeEco car some time,” Jia wrote, admitting he had made financial errors in the past. “We will pay back creditors, suppliers and any other debts.”  (Read More…)

By on May 31, 2017

Automobility LA, Image: Automobility LA

The Los Angeles Auto Show is once again hosting the Top Ten Automotive Startups competition and has opened the door for entrants. If you’ve ever wanted to troll a major automotive trade show with your worst ideas or promote your extremely flimsy business model, this is your opportunity.

Of course, the application process also works if you have a legitimate business you’re looking to showcase. Thanks to the LA Auto Show’s decision to rebrand itself as “AutoMobility LA,” the bar for entry is fairly low. Your automotive startup could involve a drone that finds your keys or a mobile app where people rank the visual appeal of various tire tread patterns. It really only needs to be vaguely auto related. Think we’re kidding? Previously selected winners include Elio Motors, Urb-e scooters, and HopSkipDrive — a ride hailing application aimed specifically at children.  (Read More…)

By on May 9, 2017

paul-elio

As TTAC reported recently, Elio Motors disclosed in its most recent annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission it needs an additional $64 million to begin series production of its first vehicle at a former General Motors assembly plant in Shreveport, Louisiana. This is on top of the $312 million it previously stated it required to bring the high-mileage trike to reality.

That isn’t the worst news.

In the filing, Elio Motors announced it was laying off sales and engineering personnel to conserve resources as it focused on securing more financing, primarily through the sale of stock and taking on more debt. An unnamed vendor is also in a payment dispute with Elio Motors, and the company is running a $100+ million deficit.

“Sure, there’s bad news,” Elio said on a phone call with TTAC, “but there’s also good news in the annual report that people are ignoring.”

(Read More…)

By on May 2, 2017

elio orange snow

Remember Elio Motors? If you’ve ever expressed any public interest in its economical three-wheeler, the company’s aggressive social media campaign has ensured Elio is a household name in your life. You may also recall the company pushing back the vehicle’s release date every single year since 2014. With a revised launch of 2018, surely Elio Motors is on track to deliver the affordable and eco-friendly little trike this time — right?

Don’t bet on it.

After an assessment showing the company had $123 million in debt with only $101,000 in the bank as of September 2016, the future is now even more dire. Elio Motors’ U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows the company needs $376 million — $64 million more than the original previous $312 million estimate — to begin production, reports Jalopnik.

Worse still, it only has 76 weeks to find the money if it has any hope of maintaining its self-imposed deadline.  (Read More…)

By on April 27, 2017

Faraday Future FF 91

Faraday Future, which spent 2016 as the automotive poster child for bad news, continues to face a myriad of problems. In this most recent hardship, we learn Faraday couldn’t even manage to choose a company name without stirring a legal backlash.

Faraday Bicycles, which manufactures electric-assisted pedal bikes, has filed a trademark lawsuit against Faraday Future in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In the complaint, filed Tuesday, the e-bike company states Faraday Future has been infringing on its name — which it officially trademarked in October 2013. The legal action follows a November claim against FF over the acquisition of its domain name and nearly endless financial woes.  (Read More…)

By on April 20, 2017

cruise automation

General Motors’ self-driving startup, Cruise Automation, has trickled out dash cam videos of an autonomous Chevrolet Bolt milling around San Francisco since February. The video quality was poor and it wasn’t anything we hadn’t already seen from a self-driving car. Tesla went so far as to call tech startups like Cruise Automation and Otto “small teams of programmers with little more than demoware” and scolded Ford, GM, and Uber for investing billions of dollars into “unproven” projects.

However, Cruise’s most recent video seems to show that it has made some legitimate progress in the last three months. Set at night, the clip shows the self-driving Bolt navigating a dense urban environment while avoiding collisions with cyclists, pedestrians, and even a raccoon.

We have to take General Motors’ word for there being zero human intervention, since we never get a clear view of the steering wheel, but the company has assured us that is the case. We also noticed the Bolt never makes a single right turn on red, even when it seemed safe to do so, and reached out to GM to ask why. (Read More…)

By on January 27, 2017

tesla model-s-rear

The former director of Tesla’s Autopilot program has choice words for his former employer.

Sterling Anderson is being sued by Tesla for stealing confidential information, which he allegedly put to use at a new autonomous vehicle start-up. According to Bloomberg, the electric automaker isn’t happy about his attempts to hire away Tesla employees, either.

In his response to the suit, Anderson doesn’t have very nice things to say about Tesla. (Read More…)

By on December 1, 2016

LUCID prototype

Lucid Motors, which hopes to someday be an EV manufacturing heavyweight rivaling Tesla, took an important step on Tuesday by announcing plans for an assembly plant in Casa Grande, Arizona. The automotive startup claims it could create up to 2,000 jobs over five years. Governor Doug Ducey seems particularly pleased to divulge Lucid’s commitment to training and hiring Arizona veterans.

For its part, Arizona will offer $46 million in subsidies dependent upon the company reaching milestones as it approaches vehicle production. (Read More…)

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