Segway Acquired By UK-Based Firm, CEO Out

With no fanfare to speak of, Segway Inc, the company behind the gyroscope-powered, self balancing scooters, has been acquired by a UK-based firm. The news was first reported this morning by Mass High Tech, and has since been confirmed on Segway’s official blog. Segway has also confirmed that CEO James Norrod is no longer with the company. According to a forum post, the new CEO is Tricia Laidler.

Segway’s post indicates that the company is now owned by a UK-based firm backed by an investor in Segway U.K., which is independently owned.

Segway Inc. is pleased to announce that in connection with a merger that occurred on December 24, 2009, Segway was acquired by a company that is based in the United Kingdom.  The acquiring company is backed by Jimi Heselden, a prominent U.K. businessman and the Chairman of Hesco Bastion.  Mr. Heselden is also an investor in the independently owned Segway U.K. distributorship.
Additionally, Segway also received funding that will be used to support the continued growth of the company.

Segway is the brainchild of renowned inventor Dean Kamen, who first unveiled the Segway PT in late 2001 (it went on sale in 2002). At launch, the hype behind the “Personal Transporter” was absolutely massive, and Segways continue to turn heads nearly a decade after their debut. Unfortunately, that attention has never translated into widespread demand from consumers, and Segways are still novelties to most people. That said, it looks like they’re getting some adoption from businesses — for one, I’ve noticed some mall patrols using them.

We have one at the TechCrunch office, and it’s certainly fun to zip around downtown Palo Alto. But it’s pretty clear that it isn’t the future of personal transportation.