Stratos isn’t dead yet. The Michigan-based startup just signed an agreement with Ciright One LLC to take over the fledgling company. Under their agreement, Ciright One will manage and fulfill all outstanding consumer and commercial and Thiago Olson, Stratos co-founder, ensures me that Stratos Cards will continue to function as normal. There is a plan to reinstate customer support in the coming weeks.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Without this agreement, Stratos was facing immediate closure. Olson and Stratos’ Chris Bartenstein explained to TechCrunch yesterday that their recent round of funding had fallen through and they were left with few options. This deal with Ciright One came together yesterday.
Under Ciright One’s guidance, the Stratos Card will live on — for now.
Ciright One is an affiliate of a private mobile technology company based in West Conshohocken, Pa. Ciright One is also building a smart credit card (auto-video playing warning) very similar to the Stratos Card. The One, as it’s called, launched last month. The One card features the same hidden buttons as the Stratos and the company is offering the card with a similar price structure as Stratos: $99 yearly subscription or $169 for two years. Even the websites are similar.
Back in September Ciright One purchased GoNow Technologies, a pioneer in the reusable credit card space. Under this acquisition Ciright One purchased patents and intellectual property from GoNow. Terms of this deal were not released.
It’s unclear to me (and maybe to the Stratos founders, too) if Ciright One will fold Stratos into its existing product or, rather, transition the Ciright One business to under the Stratos brand. Either way, it simply does not make sense to keep both products as is.
This exit is far from the one envisioned by Olson and Bartenstein when they started Stratos three years ago, raising $6.63 million along the way.
TechCrunch has reached out to Stratos for clarification on the future of its remaining employees.
Update: According to a spokesperson for Ciright One, the intention is to keep the Stratos brand active along with the Ciright One brand. She could not answer on the status of current Stratos employees or if the company will stay in Michigan, though noting “I don’t see why not.”