Smartwatch maker Pebble seems to be in some trouble. According to sources close to the company, the company is having trouble maintaining its growth and has turned to a Silicon Valley bank for a $5 million loan and $5 million line of credit. Valley VCs have been turning down the company’s requests for new capital.
The company, which recently raised $20 million in a wildly successful Kickstarter, currently has 150 employees and is still hiring. Even with the crowdfunding infusion – which amounts to about $18 million after fees – the company is shopping for VC money in order to maintain growth and turned to a bank loan “in order to stay afloat.”
The source noted that many employees were unhappy with the direction of the company as it turns to face competitors from Apple, Android, and outside. The Olio watch, for example, may take Pebble’s indie smartwatch crown when it is released. Pebble recently launched a follow-up to their flagship $99 black-and-white e-paper watch, the Pebble Time. The new model features a color e-paper screen and a built-in microphone.
All is not lost at the company… yet. Employees I spoke to anonymously were cautiously optimistic. However, a Glassdoor post from March suggests that the hiring process – run by a General Counsel and former Apple honcho Jeff Hyman – is unpopular.
“We’re a young company. The outlook for Pebble is very positive,” said a current employee who preferred to remain anonymous. “It’s been a remarkable journey thus far.”