Despite the staggering $20M that Pebble recently raised through Kickstarter, word is the company is facing a financial hurdle. According to an article by TechCrunch, Pebble has been making the VC rounds looking for a $5M loan with a $5M line of credit and has been facing a lot of closed doors. The young company eventually settled on a bank loan “in order to stay afloat.” Failure to raise VC money paints an unfavorable view of how the company’s current direction and roadmap are being perceived. Apparently there is a feeling from both inside and outside of the company that Pebble is not doing enough to directly compete against the completion, including Apple and Android. Besides battery life, it is tough to pin point exactly what the competitive advantages of the Pebble Watch are. They are not the cheapest, the most advanced, or uniquely durable. One of the feathers in Pebble’s cap used to be the company’s “indie” status but now there are other “indie” companies offering better and more competitive watches, such as Olio.
Pebble was one of the first true smartwatches to market and helped define the market segment. Hopefully the company will continue to innovate and shape the market and not end up like other first movers (i.e. Rio Audio).