Open letter to Jolla community: through the tough times
Dear Jolla fans, community, customers and Jolla Tablet backers,
Less than two weeks ago, on Thursday November 12 I was presenting Jolla at the great start-up conference SLUSH 2015, telling about Jolla’s ups and downs, focusing on death valleys that we start-ups very often go through. I told the audience that so far Jolla has had two serious death valleys, one in the very beginning in 2013 when we lost our whole technology platform, the basis for our first smartphone. The second death valley was later in 2014 when the Jolla smartphone was not selling as anticipated and its technology was aging.
In my SLUSH presentation I also explained that the Jolla Tablet delays was Jolla’s third death valley, and that we are fully determined to overcome this challenge. The very next morning after SLUSH, I learned that our lead investor had withdrawn from the November financing round (total size of round around 10M€ investment), and that our biggest problem was in fact the company’s financing and survival overall. The Jolla Tablet is of course one important item here, but now the whole company’s future was at risk.
Last week we had to make the difficult decision to temporarily lay-off most of our people and apply for debt restructuring, which is a Finnish program similar to Chapter 11. These actions are hopefully only temporary as we aim to finalize the delayed financing round.
Jolla is now fighting for its survival. The key thing in this fight is that we succeed in our December financing round. If we do so, also the Tablet project can be resolved.
What happened with the Jolla Tablet project?
Many of you have been rightfully asking, where did our tablet money go? Below is an analysis of it in a simple graph. Big part of the tablet project went to Sailfish OS software development (more than 50% of project costs). As I have said in earlier blogs, hardware is the easy part, software is the king (and the beast).
As a whole the Jolla Tablet project got first three months delayed because of reasons explained in detail in our blog posts. The display issues and other component delivery challenges were in fact the primary reasons for the initial delays and increased the budget overdue. Although the tablet project has not been a profitable project for Jolla, it has been a key project to take Sailfish OS forward to a new level. Also I would like to highlight that the tablet project is not the reason for Jolla’s current financial challenges, but the delay of company’s overall external financing.
What happens next?
Meanwhile we are heavily working to get our funding in place in December we are also analyzing different alternatives to solve the Tablet project and compensate to our customers for the late or missing deliveries. Please stay tuned while we are figuring these solutions out. We can’t thank you enough for your patience already now.
Overall, as I also explained in a recent TechCrunch interview, the alternative OS is a really big and challenging agenda. But I still believe it is moving ahead, yet very slowly. The primary challenge for us is that our agenda might be somewhat forward leaning, and we need to wait until the world catches up with this vision that other OSs are heavily needed to create an alternative for Android. The interest for our agenda is just now emerging. I firmly believe that companies and consumers will soon realize that the world really needs options in mobile OSs. We’ve already had many interesting discussions with potential new partners about using Sailfish OS in their own projects. I’m looking forward to announcing the results of these talks soon.
Many of our dear community members have also asked how they could help Jolla to overcome this challenging time. I want to personally thank all of you for your continued support. Soon after we have overcome the first leg in this battle, we’ll come back to you about concrete ways to support us.
Your Jolla captain,
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