Wired painted a very vivid story – as usual – of Doppler Labs' downfall. Like all Wired pieces, it's worth taking it with a grain of salt since there style always triumphs over mundane narratives. On the other hand, I found the piece brought out some things I've been advising hardware founders over and over again. Here's a paragraph from the article:
While I do not have any insider information, it seems to me that the company treated manufacturer just like that, a manufacturer. Usually if a company chooses an EMS partner properly and has honest and frank collaboration, this kind of surprise won't happen, let alone switching manufacturers.
I might be reading too much into an otherwise good-read. But it's sad to see a company with real products and grand vision go down like this. It's also troublesome to me as an investor that, after raising more than $50M, the company could not ship meaning amount of .. earbuds. It's not even a robot. Remember that it took James Park and his team at Fitbit only $66M to hit IPO and surpassed $1B annual revenue. Something is really missing here.
For all my pieces on the best practices for startups to work with EMS firms, here's a collection: